What are the TMJs?
Place your fingertips on the sides of your face, just in front of your ears, and quickly open and close your mouth. The movement you feel beneath the skin is the complex system of bones, muscles, and cartilage known as the temporo-mandibular joints, or TMJs. When they function properly, the TMJs help you open and close your mouth to eat, speak, laugh, and yawn with a smooth gliding motion. However, when something goes wrong in your TMJs, you could experience a host of serious and painful symptoms, including:
- Chronic headaches
- Chronic pain in the jaw, face, neck, or shoulder
- Acute pain in the jaw when you chew or take a bite of food
- A distinctive clicking or popping jaw when you open or close your mouth (can be accompanied by pain or completely painless)
- Inability to open or close your mouth completely
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or if Dr. K detects any abnormal function in your jaw during a routine checkup, he can provide treatment options and advice to help relieve your discomfort.
Bruxism: It’s a Real Grind
One of the primary causes of TMJ disorder is bruxism, a condition characterized by periods of clenching the jaw and grinding the teeth. Most bruxers (people who suffer from bruxism) grind their teeth at night during sleep and wake up with sore jaws and headaches. Most cases of bruxism are caused by internalized stress and anxiety and, in some cases, this condition can be treated with lifestyle modification such as decreased caffeine intake and daily exercise. However, moderate-to-severe bruxism may need professional treatment or it can lead to the significant enamel wear and the development of TMJ disorder.
TMJ and Bruxism Treatment Options
Many patients experience a reduction in the severity of symptoms associated with TMJ and bruxism through the use of a custom-fitted oral appliance called an occlusal splint. Resembling an athletic mouth guard, occlusal splints hinder your ability to grind your teeth.
Exceptional Care and Comfort with Your Calabasas Dentist
At Calabasas Smiles, Dr. K and his staff of friendly, talented professionals look forward to caring for your smile. We provide a full menu of dental care services, from checkups and cleanings to dental implants. To schedule an appointment at our Calabasas dentist office, please contact us today at (818) 878-7300. We proudly serve patients and their families from Hidden Hills, Malibu, Agoura Hills, Woodland Hills, Thousand Oaks, West Hills, and the 91302 zip code area.