Treating Your TMJ in DuPont Can Help You Smile Without Pain
Have you ever heard someone say, “I have TMJ”? What they really mean to say is, “I have TMD.” Everyone has TMJ. In fact, we have two of them. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, while TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. TMD is a condition that can happen when your temporomandibular joints do not function properly. To treat TMJ in DuPont, your dentists at Dupont Family Dentistry offers relief with a custom-fitted oral bite appliance called a nightguard.
More about Your TMJs
Finding your temporomandibular joints is easy. Gently press with your fingertips on both sides of your face right in front of your ears. Now, open and close your mouth and shift your lower jaw from side to side. That joint you feel moving under your fingers is the TMJ. When this joint functions the way intended, you are easily able to open your mouth to speak, eat, cough, laugh, smile and yawn.
On the other hand, one or both of your TMJs may malfunction. These joints are comprised of bone, cartilage and muscle. Many factors can upset this delicate system, including:
- Bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), which puts excessive pressure on these joints
- A hard blow to your face, head or neck
- Arthritis in your jaw
- Life’s daily stresses that cause you to unconsciously clench your teeth
Symptoms of TMD
Unfortunately, the most common symptom that patients who have TMD report is pain when they open or close their mouth. The pain is usually felt most acutely in the jaw, of course, but may also extend down your neck and to your shoulders. Other symptoms are:
- A jaw that feels locked in one position
- Fatigued facial muscles
- Swelling on the side of your face
TMJ Therapy in DuPont
If one of the dentists at Dupont Family Dentistry determines that you do have TMD, then an oral appliance called a nightguard may be recommended. Your nightguard is custom designed from impressions and X-rays of your teeth. Thus, you can be sure yours will fit precisely and comfortably.
A nightguard is not intended to cure TMD. Rather, this oral appliance decreases the pressure on your temporomandibular joints when teeth grinding and clenching happen at night. In addition to a nightguard, the dentist may also recommend activities to reduce the daily stress in your life as a means of decreasing the inclination to grind and clench.
To learn more about TMD or to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists, contact Dupont Family Dentistry.