Guard Your Smile
TMJ is the acronym for temporomandibular joint, which connects your lower jaw (the mandible) to your skull at the temporal bone. This joint controls many jaw functions, like chewing. If the chewing muscles or the joint itself are causing you pain you may have temporomandibular disorder, or TMD. TMD can be caused by stress, continual clenching of the jaw muscles, or teeth grinding.
Some of the symptoms of TMD are:
- Pain when opening or closing mouth
- Trouble chewing
- Jaw becoming stuck open or shut
- Headaches or ear pain
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening your mouth
- Teeth Grinding
Many of these symptoms can often be associated with other health problems, so only a medical professional can tell you if it is due to TMD. Teeth grinding is an especially problematic symptom because it can lead to further problems. Prolonged teeth grinding, or bruxism, can cause enamel to wear off teeth and expose dentin. This material is softer than enamel and more susceptible to decay. Sensitivity to hot and cold food or drink may also develop from excessive teeth grinding.
If you suspect you may have TMD come in for a consultation. Our dental clinic can diagnose and provide you with relief for your TMD symptoms. Pain relievers and hot/cold compresses are short term methods to provide relief for pain symptoms. A TMJ mouth guard for nighttime use can he used to help prevent (or lessen) the effects of teeth grinding at night. This can lead to a more permanent solution. In very severe cases of TMD surgery may be required, but behavioral treatments to change the way you use your jaw muscles are usually enough to provide relief.
Many people are afflicted with bruxism, or teeth grinding. Some people may do this consciously during the day, but it is a larger problem at night while you are asleep. Grinding your teeth can damage enamel, wear down teeth, cause jaw pain, or irritate your gums. The noise from teeth grinding can also disturb your spouse’s sleep if loud enough.
If you grind your teeth you should consider a night guard. The dental night guard, which is very similar to a mouth guard worn by athletes, provides a barrier between your top and bottom teeth while you sleep. All night guards are custom fitted for comfort and to allow for proper breathing. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and have the night guard created by a dental lab. Night guards are very durable and can be used for up to 10 years.
There are also some things that you can do to try to stop teeth grinding. You can train your jaw to be free and easy rather than clenched. Refrain from chewing gum or on other objects like pens. You should also avoid alcoholic drinks and drinks with caffeine, as these can increase the likelihood you will grind your teeth. If you suspect you might be grinding your teeth at night set up an appointment with us today.
Protective Mouth Guards
Mouth guards are an essential piece of equipment in contact sports. They should be worn by athletes of all ages who participate in sports such as:
- …any sport where contact is a possibility
Wearing a mouth guard helps prevent against structural damage to your teeth and jaw and also helps prevent injuries such as lacerations to your cheeks, tongue, and lips. Mouth guards have also been shown to help decrease the risk of concussions.
Mouth guards are available in most any sporting goods store, but you should be careful when purchasing a mouth guard. Mouth guards like this do not offer the best level of protection. They are also usually ill-fitting and uncomfortable.
For the highest level of comfort and protection, you should visit your dentist for a custom mouth guard fitting. A custom mouth guard is created specifically for the optimal protection of YOUR mouth. It is created with thin plastic that is hardened to protect your teeth. The thinness of the custom mouth guard allows for easy breathing and also allows for easy communication (especially important for you star quarterbacks calling out the signals).
See your dentist today for a custom mouth guard to protect your teeth and ensure that you maintain the highest level of performance on the field, court, or rink.