What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorders are a group of complex problems of the jaw joint (called the temporomandibular joint), which occur when the jaw joints become misaligned. Because muscles and joints work together, a problem with either one can lead to stiffness, headaches, ear pain, bite problems (malocclusion), clicking sounds or locked jaws. The following are behaviors or conditions that can lead to TMJ disorders:
- Teeth grinding
- Habitual gum chewing or fingernail biting
- Occupational tasks such as holding the telephone between the head and shoulder
How does TMJ therapy work?
TMJ therapy works by restoring your jaw to its natural, comfortable resting position. Your doctor will evaluate your specific caseto determine which therapy will benefit you most. Here are some examples of therapies to alleviate TMJ-related stress:
- TekScan - Computerized Bite Analysis for determining uneven bite forces. Uneven bite forces can cause tooth pain, jaw pain, headaches, tooth fracture, loose teeth and TMJ disorders.
- Custom Mouth Guard - Typically, patients wear a custom mouth guard at night to hold the jaw in its optimal position and prevent teeth grinding.
- Equilibration - Over time, worn teeth, bridges or fillings can create an uneven bite. Equilibration involves reshaping teeth so they fit together comfortably.
- TENS - A TENS unit sends low-frequency electrical impulses to the jaw, overriding unhealthy neuromuscular impulses and allowing for stress-free positioning.