TMJ-TMD is a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw with your skull. Every single time you open or close your mouth, you are using this temporomandibular joint.
TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint, which is your jaw joint. TMJ syndrome or TMD, temporomandibular disorder, is a medical problem related to the improper function of the jaw joint. The symptoms are usually a popping, clicking, or rustling in the jaw joint and can be accompanied by jaw joint or muscle pain. Your jaw may lock in position or is difficult to open, you may have consistent headaches, ringing in the ears, and sometimes even numbness in your face and fingertips. Bruxism is a condition when you grind or clench your teeth, usually at night. If you suspect you might have TMJ or bruxism, refrain from diagnosing it yourself. Make an appointment at Brechon Dental to receive an accurate diagnosis before proceeding with any treatment. These two conditions can present similar symptoms, making it easy to mistake one for the other.
The team at Brechon Dental will embrace you as family. Being family owned for over two generations, we extend our compassion and caring concerns to all patients of all ages. We are proud to provide a wide range of dental services and have a commitment to providing these services in a manner that you become educated and comfortable with the care you are receiving, confident that we are implementing advanced technology to provide you with cutting edge services, all provided in a comfortable and caring environment. Located at 115 W. Lincoln Ave. in Belvidere, Illinois, 61008, we enjoy serving the entire community and the surrounding areas. Simply call 815-491-8032 with any dental questions or concerns and schedule your appointment today for anyone in your family. Let us help you decide which treatment is best for any TMJ-TMD or Bruxism problems.
The Causes and Symptoms of TMJ-TMD
TMJ-TMD is a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw with your skull. Every single time you open or close your mouth, you are using this temporomandibular joint. Since this is such a frequently used joint, severe TMJ-TMD can affect your quality of life. A dysfunction in this joint can have many possible causes:
- A direct injury to the joint
- An abnormal bite or teeth alignment
- Excessive stress on the jaw muscles, which can be caused by bruxism
These are some of the suspected causes, and it is often hard to determine the exact cause of TMJ-TMD. If you develop dysfunction in your temporomandibular joint, you may experience some of these following symptoms:
- Popping sounds when you open or close your jaw
- Continued headaches
- Earaches or ringing in your ears
- Jaw clenching
- A sore jaw or painful jaw
- Pain while you are chewing
- Locking of your jaw or a difficulty opening and closing your jaw
- A pain that radiates from the joint to your temples, face, neck, or shoulders
The Causes and Symptoms of Bruxism
Bruxism is the grinding or the clenching of your teeth, usually at night, but you may clench and grind your teeth during the daytime hours as well. Daytime bruxism is called awake bruxism and nighttime bruxism is called sleep bruxism.
As with TMJ-TMD, it may often be difficult to determine the cause of bruxism. Some of the common suspected causes include:
- You are experiencing stress or anxiety
- You have developed sleep apnea
- Reactions to certain medications
- The misalignment of your jaw
- The result of excessive drug, alcohol, and tobacco use
Regardless of the cause of your bruxism, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Tooth sensitivity and toothaches
- Worn or flattened teeth
- Jaw or face pain
- Broken, chipped, or cracked teeth
- Jaw soreness
- Disrupted sleep
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Diagnosing TMD-TMJ and Bruxism
TMJ and Bruxism problems are usually diagnosed through a detailed examination by Brechon Dental. We will look for evidence of TMJ-TMD and Bruxism with your mouth, teeth, gums, and tongue. We will palpate the muscles of your head, neck, and shoulders to determine your level of tenderness. We will also measure the range of motion in your lower jaw, conduct a scan of your jaw joints using JVA (joint vibration analysis), and perform a diagnostic imaging (MRI or cone-beam x-rays).
Wearing a night guard is the most common treatment for bruxism, but it certainly is not the only option. Treatments for bruxism are focused on reducing the symptoms and eliminating your bruxism altogether. Treatment options may include:
- Stress management and relaxation techniques
- Icing your jaw
- Muscle relaxants
- Practicing consciously properly aligning your jaw
- Braces to properly align your teeth
- Botox injections to weaken the muscles responsible
Brechon Dental most likely will recommend a bruxism guard. This is a different type than the kind used for TMJ-TMD. A bruxism mouth guard is worn on either your upper or lower teeth, and it can be made of a hard-plastic material or a softer, more pliable material. We may recommend a certain type of dental night guard that will work best for you and your bruxism. If you get a custom fitted night guard at Brechon Dental, you will see your symptoms of bruxism reduce.
After we evaluate you and identify the severity of your TMJ-TMD, we will recommend treatment that will work best for you. Some of those treatments may include:
- Sleeping with a night guard
- Physical therapy
- Over-the-counter pain relief medications
- Cold or hot therapy
- Relaxation techniques
- Jaw exercises and stretches to relieve the discomfort
- To avoid extreme and repetitive jaw movements, like yawning or chewing gum
- Surgery for extreme or stubborn cases
For most patients, the TMJ-TMD problem can be treated with a specially designed, plastic night guard that is worn over the teeth at night. The guard will be customized to your situation. One size fits all solutions, like nightguards available in drugstores, may not solve the problem and can even make it worse.
If you infrequently experience jaw joint problems, then self-care practices may be enough to control the problem. This may include stress management like yoga or meditation, gentle stretching and massaging of your jaw joint muscles, the application of heat or ice packs, avoiding chewing gum, and not opening your mouth excessively wide.
Botox has also become a highly effective treatment for TMJ-TMD pain. Brechon Dental injects Botox into your overly tight, painful facial muscles to relax these areas, minimizing the TMJ-TMD discomfort. Botox will decrease the nighttime clenching forces and decrease daytime TMJ-TMD pain. The Botox treatment lasts 3-4 months and is repeated, as necessary.
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Dentistry for You in Belvidere
Brechon Dental is a family-owned dental clinic at 115 W. Lincoln Ave. in Belvidere, Illinois, 61008. Our highly compassionate staff and dentists are genuinely dedicated to your dental care and your healthy smile. When you visit us in our newly designed office, we focus on making your experience with our staff comfortable and rewarding. We wish for you to leave your visit smiling, with teeth that are healthier and brighter. From regular examinations and dental cleanings to a variety of cosmetic procedures, our goal is to provide you with only the best in dental care and treatments so that you achieve and maintain a smile you are proud of. We want you to have convenient access to dental care by accepting most major insurances and offering financing options. Call 815-491-8032 to schedule your appointment with Brechon Dental today.