Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD) generally fall into 3 main categories:
- Myofascial pain, the most common form of TMD, which is pain or discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function and the neck and shoulder muscles.
- Internal derangement of the joint, meaning a dislocated jaw or displaced disc, or injury to the condyle.
- Degenerative joint disease, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the jaw joint.
A person can have one or more of these symptoms at the same time.
Symptoms of a TMJ Disorder include:
- Limited movement or locking of the jaw
- Radiating pain in the face, neck or shoulders
- Painful clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
- A sudden, major change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
- Headaches, earaches, dizziness and hearing problems
Bruxism – Tooth Grinding
Bruxism, commonly known as tooth grinding, is the process of clenching together, and the grinding of, the upper and lower teeth. During sleep, the biting force of clenched jaws can be up to six times greater than during waking hours.
Bruxism can cause complications over the years:
- Wear down tooth enamel
- Break fillings or other dental work
- Worsening of TMJ dysfunction
- Jaw pain, toothache, headaches or earaches
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth mobility
- Chipped teeth
- Erodes gums and supporting bones, contributing to gum disease
There is no cure for bruxism; however, the condition can be managed. The most common procedure to help to alleviate pain and discomfort is a “Night Guard.”