TMJ care at Emerald Dental – Vancouver Dentist
‘TMJ’ stands for temporomandibular joint, which refers to the jaw joints. TMJ and TMD are often used as umbrella terms to describe pain in the jaw and surrounding areas. Many patients may feel acute pain in the jaw, which should resolve after a day or so. However, if the pain is chronic or recurring, it is likely that the patient is suffering from a disorder of the TMJ.
TMJ disorder can have a variety of different cause. Bruxism, or nighttime clenching and grinding of the teeth, is often to blame. Many patients are unaware that they grind their teeth at night. Oftentimes, if patients are grinding their teeth, they will have headaches and a sore jaw in the morning. Their teeth may be worn or even broken as well. A treatment dentists often recommend for bruxism is wearing a nightguard during sleep. A nightguard is a custom created dental appliance that fits over your teeth and acts as a cushion between your top and bottom teeth. This will help alleviate the pressure on your jaw and will serve to protect your teeth as well. It is recommended that you come in and have a nightguard professionally made; many over the counter night guards don’t fit properly as they aren’t custom made for you and won’t give you the same amount of protection.
Stress is thought to exacerbate symptoms of TMJ disorder. If stress is a factor in a patient’s life, we would recommend relaxation techniques or therapy to help the patient stay calm. Caffeine, tobacco and alcohol can also add to tension in the jaw. Acute TMJ pain can be managed with over the counter pain relievers such as Advil. You may also try eating a diet of soft foods until the pain subsides. However, if the pain is persistent it is a good idea to visit your dentist to get to the root of what is causing the pain.
In some cases, misalignment of the teeth causes or contributes to TMJ pain. In these cases, orthodontics may be the best solution. At the Dental Studio in Burnaby, we offer orthodontics services such as Invisalign and braces for adults and children.
The cause of TMJ is often multifactorial. If you are suffering from TMJ pain, it’s best to come in for a consultation to determine the cause and decide on a treatment plan.