Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ is a condition that causes pain when there is dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint of the jaw. This is often associated with teeth grinding, arthritis, or an injury to the jaw. Most people who have TMJ also grind their teeth at night, so they are co-occurring disorders.
If you experience pain or tenderness in the jaw, headaches, lockjaw, clicking or popping sounds when opening the mouth, radiating facial pain, earaches, changes to your bite, and difficulty opening the mouth all the way, these are signs of TMJ. Contact us at Great Bay Orthodontics in Stratham to schedule a consultation with Dr. John Walsh.
Phase I orthodontics may reduce the need for more extensive orthodontic treatment in the future.
First, you will need to come in for a consultation so we can perform an oral exam and take x-rays to look for signs of TMJ and teeth grinding.
If we suspect you have TMJ, we will take impressions of your teeth and send them to a dental lab.
The dental lab uses the impressions of your teeth to create a custom-fit night guard that you will wear when you sleep.
It can take a few weeks for the night guard to be fabricated. Once we have received it at our office, you can come to pick it up and begin your treatment. Over time, you will need to have it replaced.
A night guard is a mouthguard that is designed based on impressions taken of your mouth so it fits the dimensions of your teeth perfectly. This creates a comfortable fit when you wear it to sleep at night.
The reason this is a treatment for TMJ is that it prevents you from clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth at night. Not only does grinding the teeth risk causing severe damage or breakage to the teeth, but it also causes a lot of tooth and jaw pain. This contributes to TMJ pain and jaw immobility, resulting in clicking noises and difficulty opening or moving the jaw. It can make eating and speaking more difficult.
The mouthguard places a cushion between the teeth so you don’t damage them and don’t exert a ton of force that will cause lingering pain and damage to the temporomandibular joint.
Early interceptive orthodontics can reduce your child’s chance of dental injury.
Night guards are temporary and will need to be replaced over time. The longevity of your night guard can vary depending on the material it is made out of, the severity of your teeth grinding, and how well you clean and take care of it.
However, they can last for a few years before needing to be replaced if they are properly cared for. Custom dental-grade night guards last much longer than over-the-counter one-size-fits-all mouth guards.
4.5 million children wear braces each year to achieve the smile of their dreams.