The temporomandibular joints, called TMJ, are the joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth. The TMJ also moves the lower jaw forward, backward and side to side. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.
Possible causes of TMJ disorders include:
- tooth and jaw misalignment
- stress and teeth grinding and clenching
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, often occurs unconsciously while you sleep and even when you’re awake. It can cause serious damage to your teeth and jaw. Although it is often considered to be stress-related, teeth grinding can also be caused by sleep disorders. A night guard or occlusal guard is prescribed to decrease clenching and or grinding of teeth as well as providing a cushioning shock absorber in between the teeth.
In some cases, your dentist may recommend fixing an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping some teeth. Orthodontic treatment may also be recommended. Ask us about treatment for related issues such as cervical dystonia and migraines.