TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint disorder (also sometimes called temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD), a chronic condition that occurs when the jaw joints become irritated and inflamed, causing dysfunction in the joint. TMJ can be caused by problems with bite mechanics or bite balance issues that place uneven stress and strain on the jaw joints, or it can develop as a result of arthritis or trauma to the joint. TMJ can occur at any age, but it occurs most commonly between the ages of 20 and 40 years.
People with nighttime grinding habits may wear away their tooth enamel ten times faster than those without abusive chewing habits. Eventually, your teeth may be worn down and destroyed. In addition to relieving head, neck, jaw joint and shoulder pains, treating bruxism and clenching is cost effective compared to ignoring the condition and exposing teeth to continued grinding. Without treatment, crowns (caps), bridges, implants, and dentures are often needed to repair or replace worn and damaged teeth.
Some of the symptoms usually associated with teeth grinding or bruxism include:
Treatment for TMJ can include the use of medications to relieve pain and inflammation, often combined with therapy to relax and realign the jaw. Mouth guards and night guards can be especially effective in TMJ treatment, helping to cushion the jaw so the strain on the joint is relieved, and inflammation can resolve over time. Guards can also help protect teeth from the damage caused by persistent clenching and grinding. Facial Associates of NY & CT provides custom care plans to address the specific underlying causes contributing to the symptoms experienced by the individual patient.
Dental guards are often referred to as appliances and are prescribed to help patients reduce the damage caused by the nighttime grinding often associated with TMJ. The appliance should help to reduce muscle spasm, clenching habits, jaw pain, teeth wear and cracked teeth.
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