Ithaca TMJ Specialist Discusses Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMJ disorder is the abnormal pain and compromised movement of the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. It is often associated with a sore jaw, frequent headaches that tend to begin at the temples, and tense neck and shoulders upon waking. These symptoms are common for individuals with nighttime teeth grinding and daily jaw clenching, known as bruxism. Fortunately, treatment for these issues is typically non-invasive, affordable, and easily accessible from your Ithaca TMJ dentist.
There is a variety of reasons why people with TMJ and bruxism engage in the unconscious behavior of teeth grinding and clenching. Daily stress and malocclusion, an improper bite, are major factors that are typically seen in TMJ patients. While you are sleeping, you are not able to stop the muscles in the jaw and face from overworking. For many patients, the worst side effect is the headaches since the pain can interfere with daily functioning. The delicate joints that connect the lower jaw to the cranium can become irritated and inflamed by TMJ. The nerve pain is able to spread to the upper back also causing posture problems.
In the cases of teeth grinding, the patient is typically unaware that their jaws are placing an abnormal amount of pressure on their teeth during the night. Bruxism can lead to tooth fractures and enamel erosion, both of which can cause serious oral issues if not treated properly. In order to treat these ailments, your Ithaca TMJ dentist will provide you with a nighttime mouth guard to prevent damage to the teeth caused by clenching and grinding. The custom appliance should fit comfortably in your mouth as you sleep in order to help position the jaw properly so the muscles are not strained. Patients should experience relief from the uncomfortable effects of TMJ and bruxism within one to two nights of proper sleep with the mouth guard.
If you believe that you or someone you know is suffering from TMJ or bruxism, call your Ithaca TMJ dentist at (607) 272-3433 for an appointment today.