Greenwood SC TMJ & TMD specialist explains causes and treatment
If you notice that your child is grinding his or her teeth while sleeping, you may find yourself thinking about TMJ. This is a frequently heard phrase in regards to pain, popping, and even locking of the jaw. Because many of the habits that cause TMJ dysfunction are subconscious, or happen while we’re sleeping, the jaw pain associated with this condition can seem unexplainable.
TMD refers to disorders of the temporomandibular joints and muscles. This joint connects your skull to your lower jaw. To locate it, hold two fingers just under your ear, on either side of your face while you open and close your mouth. As your mouth opens and closes, you should feel the rounded edges of the jaw as it moves inside the joint. If you open and close your mouth with ease and don’t feel any pain, it indicates that the joint is aligned correctly.
However, if it hurts to open and close your mouth, if you hear a popping or clicking noise, or if your jaw “locks,” you could have a problem with the joint of your jaw. While some pain could be caused by other things, if the pain lasts for more than a few days, is extremely painful, or begins to shift toward your head, neck, or face, then it’s time to get help.
A dentist with experience in TMJ dysfunction can confirm the disorder using tests and diagnostic tools. Once it is confirmed, you will likely be offered an oral appliance to wear while sleeping that will help to better align the jaw and ease the pain. Each oral appliance is custom made to fit you precisely and address your individual need. For example, if your TMJ dysfunction is caused from clenching or grinding the teeth, your appliance will fit in a way that helps you avoid that habit.
Getting relief begins with proper diagnosis. Dr. Christopher Griffin of Greenwood, SC, is a specialist in bringing patients relief from TMJ/TMD. If you, or someone in your family, have pain in their jaw, headaches, or earaches call today to schedule an appointment.
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