The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that links the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. Temporomandibular joint disorder, known more frequently as TMD, takes place when there are problems with the muscles and jaws in the face.
TMD Signs and Symptoms
There are lots of signs and symptoms of TMD. It’s typically difficult to understand for sure if you have TMD, since one or all of these symptoms can also be present for other problems. Your dental professional can assist make a correct medical diagnosis. Some of the most typical TMD symptoms consist of:
- Pain in the face, jaw or ear area.
- Headaches (frequently mimicking migraines), earaches, and pain and pressure behind the eyes.
- A clicking or popping noise when opening or closing the mouth.
- Jaw that “gets stuck”, locked or goes out of place.
- Inflammation of the jaw muscles.
- Swelling of the face.
If you experience pain in your neck and jaw area, a clicking or popping noise when you open or close your mouth, or a restricted range of movement in your jaw, you might be handling a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Conditions of the TMJ are believed to impact up of 10 million people in the United States, alone. While using a NTI device or night guard for TMJ treatment is common, it is prudent to explore your choices.
Efficiency of Night Guards for TMJ
A night guard is a plastic piece that you fit over your teeth and use while you sleep. Although these sort of guards have been shown reliable for TMJ (those who grind their teeth), the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) mentions that research into the effectiveness of guards as a treatment for TMJ disorders has not been shown to provide considerable pain relief; nevertheless, you must talk to your dentist to see if a night guard or NTI device might be helpful for you.
If you or a relative is handling a TMJ disorder, the NIDCR suggests treatments that take a “less is more” method and secure your natural bite. Consequently, the institute encourages that if a night guard is used for treatment, it should be done over a short period and care need to be taken that the guard does not impact or change your natural bite.
At Home Treatment of TMJ
If you and your doctor choose that a night guard for TMJ disorders is not for you, the NIDCR advises these alternative treatments:
- Practice relaxation and light extending techniques to reduce tension in your jaw.
- Prevent making sharp movements with your jaw.
- Use an ice pack to decrease swelling.
- Customize your diet to consist of softer foods that need less chewing power.
If you are concerned about pain in your jaw or the muscles around your TMJ, talk to your health care provider to make sure that the issue is effectively detected and go over the best course of treatment.