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When there is a problem with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), your body lets you know. There can be many symptoms that indicate your mouth and jaw are out of whack and your oral health is in danger as a result, but only your dentist can confirm what’s really going on. Consult with Dr. Jacqueline Zoma at Zoma Dental in West Bloomfield Township, MI, to find out if you need TMJ therapy.
What Is the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?
The TMJ are small, triangular-shaped joints situated in front of your ears that join the lower jaw and temporal bone and allow the mouth to open and close easily. When this normal action does not occur, often because of the unconscious but common behavior to hold stress in the mouth and jaw, the muscles and nerves surrounding the jaw become irritated and the TMJ joint suffers acute or chronic inflammation. This problem can be caused by:
- Jaw misalignment
- Teeth grinding
- Clenching the teeth
- Cartilage recession
Symptoms of TMJ Problems
A TMJ problem can be missed if you do not turn to your dentist for help first. Some of the side effects of a TMJ issue can easily masquerade as other physical or mental health conditions, so many people consult a regular doctor first who misdiagnoses the ailment.
Without adequate treatment, the problems will continue. Hopefully, patients with a TMJ problem will realize that the issue is an oral health one so they can pursue proper treatment. Some of the many possible symptoms of a TMJ problem include:
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Morning headaches
- Trouble opening or closing the mouth
- Difficulty biting or chewing
- Clicking or popping sound when moving the jaw
- Hearing loss or tinnitus
- Neck or shoulder pain
Oral Health Problems Caused by TMJ Issues
The symptoms of TMJ irritation are one thing, but the side effects of grinding and clenching your teeth at night are quite another. Teeth that exert extreme pressure against each other are carrying out an abnormal action that can lead to serious oral health problems that come with their own pain and costly repairs, including:
- Cracked teeth
- Enamel erosion
- Broken teeth
- Damaged dental work
- Gum recession
You may not want to admit to having an oral health problem or visit your dentist, but it’s always wise to get help for any oral health complications before they turn into bigger, most uncomfortable problems. Getting the right TMJ therapy will save your teeth from damage, destruction, and deterioration.
Bite Guards for TMJ Therapy
When your West Bloomfield Township dentist discovers that you do indeed need TMJ therapy, the most obvious and effective solution is to be fitted for a customized bite guard. Also known as a mouthguard or nightguard, this personalized appliance is fitted to you alone. It is clear but robust so you can click it over your upper arch of teeth at night to prevent the teeth from crushing into the teeth in your lower jaw.
This bite guard provides immediate relief once it is ready, stopping the sleep bruxism and side effects caused by the chronic grinding of the teeth. Depending on what your dentist uncovers, you may want to discuss a course of Invisalign treatment for correcting your alignment.
See Your West Bloomfield Township Dentist for TMJ Therapy
You do not have to live with an uncomfortable jaw or mouth pain. If you know something is wrong with your oral health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Zoma at her West Bloomfield Township dental office. Find out if you need TMJ therapy or another type of preventive care to help protect your teeth from themselves and preserve your oral health.