The TMJ is your temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to the temple bones of your skull, just in front of each ear. It allows you to move your jaw freely, playing a major role in everyday activities such as chewing, talking, and yawning.
Chronic pain or aching in your TMJ area, including the muscles your face uses to control it, are known as temporomandibular disorders, or TMD. While the cause of TMD isn’t always clear, dentists believe symptoms stem from problems with the muscles or joint.
TMD can also come from:
In addition to pain TMJ problems can cause, you may also experience:
A variety of options can help minimize TMJ-related discomfort, including:
Splints and nightguards are plastic mouthpieces you wear over your teeth that keep your upper and lower teeth from touching. They can help manage TMD by reducing the effects of clenching or grinding, and can even correct an uneven bite.
The difference in these devices depends on how long you need to wear them for. If you only need to wear something at night, choose a nightguard to stop grinding your teeth while you sleep. If you need support during the day as well, a splint may be a better option. Dr. Lane will help you choose the best treatment for your needs.
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