TMJ Treatment in Kensington & Nightguards for Teeth Grinding
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are tiny connective tissues that allow the mouth to open and close smoothly without pain or discomfort. When these tiny joints are damaged, the result can be jaw immobility, clicking or grinding sounds when opening and closing the mouth, and pain during jaw movement. Strain or damage to the TMJ is known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD). There are a number of causes of TMD and there are almost as many treatment options. Dr. Kamala Aydazada has years of training and experience helping patients relieve the pain associated with TMD and restore full jaw motion. Get in touch with our Kensington dental office today to book an appointment.
Diagnosis & TMJ Treatment
Before we can renew your full spectrum of TMJ function, we need to make sure your condition is definitely TMD. That begins with x-rays and a visual and tactile examination. X-rays show us how your bite fits together and if there are concerns with the way the jawbone moves against the skull. Dr. Aydazada will watch as you open and close your mouth to see and hear any signs of strain or discomfort. Then, she will feel the jaw joints where they come together. The entire evaluation should only take a few minutes. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you experience any of the following warning signs of TMD:
- Jaw pain when opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking and grinding sound when opening and closing the mouth
- Inability to fully extend the jaw
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Head, neck, shoulder, or back pain
Equilibration / Occlusal Adjustments
The first step is typically to try minimally invasive, non-surgical therapies. There are a number of stretching techniques patients can use at home to reset the way the jaw moves and relieve strain on the TMJ. In some cases, patients experience TMD because of stress. For these patients, stress relieving techniques may be helpful. We may also recommend a retainer or other orthodontic appliance or treatment to shift the jaw into a more comfortable alignment.
Occlusal splints, commonly referred to as nightguards, are also low impact treatment options for patients suffering from TMD. These customized guards are worn at night, and they adjust the jaw to its ideal resting position. During sleep, your jaw is relaxed and there is no unnecessary strain or damage. Most patients experience significant pain relief after just a few nights wearing their occlusal splints. For those patients whose TMD is caused by nighttime teeth grinding and clenching, occlusal splints also protect teeth from unconscious damage.