TMJ disorder: treatment options available at Illuminada Dental in Edmonton

We all have temporomandibular joints- they can be locate at sides of your face just below the ears. The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) can be felt when you open and close your mouth as the joints connecting the jawbone to the skull. Oftentimes patients will come in saying that they have “TMJ” ; what they are usually referring to is TMJ disorder, or pain and discomfort in these joints and surrounding areas. This is sometimes abbreviated to TMD as well.

If you suffer from TMD, you are probably experiencing tension and discomfort as you talk, eat, yawn and chew food or gum. What dentists know for sure about TMJ disorder is that it generally has multifactorial causes. Contributing factors include:

  • Bruxism (grinding the teeth either during the day or while asleep)
  • Tension, anxiety and stress
  • Malalignment of the teeth or jaw
  • Arthritis
  • Impacted wisdom teeth

It’s not uncommon for symptoms of TMJ disorder to start presenting themselves in a patient’s early twenties, but children and older patients can experience symptoms as well. At Illuminada Dental, we take into account a patient’s medical and dental history as well as lifestyle before prescribing a treatment plan. Sometimes all that is necessary is for a patient to address stressors in their lives which are causing them to have tension or clench their jaws. Relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation can even be useful. Other times, the solution is a bit more complex. For example, if the TMJ pain is thought to stem from a bad bite, orthodontic treatment to correct the misalignment may cure the TMJ, and bring other cosmetic and health benefits also. If bruxism is causing TMJ, nighttime mouth guards can reduce clenching in some patients. While mouthguards are sold over-the-counter at many drugstores, it is recommended that patients get fitted for a custom-made mouthguard in their dentist’s office. Professionally made mouthguards offer better fit, are more durable, and offer a greater level of protection against nighttime grinding than over-the-counter varieties can.

If you are experiencing TMJ pain, Tylenol or Advil can provide temporary relief. However, it is wise to come in and speak with your dentist to help determine the root cause of your TMJ pain to help find a more permanent solution.