Commonly known as TMJ, the temporomandibular joint connects the jawbone to the skull and acts as a sliding hinge, both rotating and sliding. TMJ disorders can cause discomfort in the joints on the side of the jaw and can occur for a variety of reasons. The joint can be damaged as a result of a blow or an impact, damaged by arthritis, or it no longer aligns properly.
Some of the risk factors that a person should be aware of that can cause TMJ are jaw injuries or most commonly, grinding of teeth – in a lot of cases, people tend to clench their teeth in their sleep without realizing that they are doing so. The pain caused by TMJ disorders is usually temporary and there are many solutions to fixing the issue that is causing it, however in some cases surgical intervention might be needed, but only as a last resort in case everything else failed to solve the problem.
In the case of people who grind their teeth during their sleeping cycle, the most common solution is a TMJ night guard. As the patient has no way of stopping themselves from clutching their jaw while they’re sleeping, a night guard is an ideal way to solve the issue. Night guards are inexpensive, readily available and easy to obtain from the drug store; however, they can be obtained from the dentist as well – which can be a better solution in some cases.
While a store-bought night guard can be efficient in reducing tooth grinding, a visit to the dentist can prove to be more helpful. As there are many types of night guards available, from professional to custom-made ones, the doctor can help you by providing the one suited to your needs. Your dentist will take into consideration the shape of your jaw and will make sure that there will be no further stress on your TMJ, as further stress can increase the level of damage done to your joint and create future problems.
Night guards are an efficient method to fix the issues that the patient’s TMJ might have, but there are also other options available, from stress reduction to exercises that can help relieve the pain. It is recommended that the patient makes an appointment with the doctor if any signs appear or if they suspect that they are grinding their teeth while they are sleeping, this way they can prevent any pain in their jaw or detect if any damage is being done to their joint.
While TMJ disorders don’t appear in every person who tends to grind their teeth and is an easily treatable pain, it can also lead to complications. The joint in the jaw is very complex and can be sensitive. Splint therapy might be necessary for patients who seek to fix their TMJ disorder or for patients who see signs of it. A highly trained professional is required to asses the situation and make sure that splint therapy is the right fit, as well as to give proper treatment instructions.