The temporomandibular joints that hinge your jaw, operate in synergy with a series of ligaments and muscles. This is what allows you to open your mouth, chew food, and speak. These sophisticated ball and socket joints also have a small cartilage disk to allow the joints to slip a little while you grind tough foods.
TMJ disorder is an overarching term used to describe issues of inflammation or pain in these joints. The resulting discomfort can pose a serious negative impact on quality of life.
TMJ disorder symptoms often include a persistent dull ache in front of your ears or near your temples. This might also be accompanied by pain when opening and closing your mouth, biting down hard or chewing tough foods.
Grinding your teeth at night can cause significant tension in your jaw muscles and ligaments as well as inflammation in the joints. This can significantly increase your chances of developing TMJ disorder. Other potential sources could also include a past dislocation in one or both joints, arthritis or general inflammation issues.
Dr. Nam Cho commonly advocates a two-stage treatment strategy to address and improve TMJ disorder symptoms
The first step of treatment focuses on modifying basic lifestyle habits. This calls for eating softer foods, taking over the counter anti-inflammatory medication and using heat packs to relax muscle tension.
Dr. Nam Cho might prescribe a custom fitted night guard if they suspects that your TMJ disorder is linked to grinding your teeth. The night guard conforms comfortably to your mouth and allows enough slip to ease tensions and prevent fractures to your tooth enamel.
If symptoms don’t show significant improvement within a few weeks Dr. Nam Cho might advocate more advanced treatment options. This could involve anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers or rehabilitation exercises.
If these measures do not provide adequate relief, then surgical intervention might be called for.
If you have been experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, you should call Dr. Nam Cho’s office in Glendale, California at 818-365-5636 to explore your treatment options.