The temporalmandibular (TMJ) joints are located near the ear, at the top of the lower jaw. These joints allow movement of your jaw.
TMJ disorders are caused by injury, arthritis or habits such as grinding the teeth at night. These disorders may produce some of the following symptoms:
- Clicking or grating noises with jaw movement
- Pain opening or closing the mouth
- Limited movement of the jaw
Not all discomfort of the jaw is the result of a TMJ disorder. In many cases, stress causes the muscles in the jaw to tense, resulting in symptoms similar to those characteristic of a TMJ disorder. Special imaging techniques may be needed to properly diagnose jaw problems and correct them accordingly.
The necessary course of treatment is dependent on the specific diagnosis and severity of the damage to the joint. Oftentimes, a night guard that prevents clenching and grating of the teeth during the night is effective in treating TMJ problems.
Night guards are fashioned to fit your bite by taking an impression of your teeth. This impression is then sent to a lab where your night guard will be constructed.