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TMJ Therapy in NW Calgary

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, is a condition that affects the joints that connect your jaw to your skull. These joints allow you to move your jaw up and down and from side to side.

Because the TMJ is such a complex joint, there are several muscles and ligaments that control its function. When these structures become damaged or diseased, they can cause TMD (Temporomandibular disorder).

Common symptoms of TMD:

  • Pain in the jaw muscle or joints. This can cause several symptoms, including headaches, migraines, and toothaches due to the pain caused by jaw clenching or teeth grinding while sleeping.

  • Pain in the temples or around the eyes. The pain typically originates from the neck and spreads throughout the jaw area and into other parts of your body.

  • Pain in the ears or around the ears caused by muscle spasms in the jaw muscles.

  • A change in the way you bite or chew foods, leading to slower eating or pain when biting down on food.

  • Difficulty opening your mouth all the way (opening more than 35 mm) or a change in your ability to yawn or clear the throat.

  • A clicking noise when opening and closing the mouth. The sound comes from a tendon moving over bony bumps on either side of the jaw joint as it opens and closes.

What causes TMJ?

There are many different causes of TMJ, but the most common is teeth grinding (Bruxism). Bruxism is a condition in which people grind or clench their teeth, and it can cause pain in the jaw, neck, and head, which can also damage the teeth.

Many people grind their teeth without realizing it. Bruxism often happens during sleep, but it can also occur while you are awake. If left untreated, it can lead to more severe problems such as damage to the teeth and jaw.

There are things that you can do to help reduce your risk of bruxism:

  • Avoid eating hard foods

  • Don't chew gum

  • Wear a custom mouthguard at night

Other causes of TMJ can include:

  • A misaligned bite, where the teeth do not fit together properly

  • Damage to the jaw, such as a fracture or dislocation

  • Arthritis in the temporomandibular joint

  • Infection or inflammation in the tissues around the TMJ

  • Stress and anxiety

What causes TMJ?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. TMJ treatment will vary depending on the individual's symptoms and causes of their disorder. Some people can manage the symptoms by using cold and warm compresses on the jaw and gentle massage of the jaw muscles.

The Canadian Dental Association suggests "eat a soft diet, cut food into small pieces and avoid hard, chewy or sticky foods. Try not to open your mouth too wide, even when you yawn. And most importantly, relax your jaw muscles."

Custom Mouth Guards

In some cases, a custom mouth guard may be recommended to help protect the temporomandibular joint and alleviate pain by reducing stress on the jaw. Custom mouth guards can offer relief for many individuals who suffer from TMD. They are designed to fit precisely over the teeth, which helps keep the jaw in proper alignment while you sleep or during long rest periods so that stress is not placed on the joint. This reduces pain and discomfort by helping your body relax properly when it rests.

Your dentist will take molds of your teeth and work with a dental lab to create the mouth guard. The dentist or another professional will make adjustments until it is just right, making sure that you can speak and breathe easily when wearing this device.

If you are looking for mouthguards in NW Calgary, call our office at (587) 315-7118 to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff or book an appointment with our general dentist, Dr. Christina Coakwell.

If you are experiencing pain symptoms associated with TMD, speak with your dentist about treating your symptoms. After examining your mouth and jaw, your dentist will be able to suggest a plan to treat your TMD symptoms.

If you have inquiries about TMJ therapy in NW Calgary or are looking for TMJ treatment in Sage Hill, call our office at (587) 315-7118 to book an appointment with our general dentist, Dr. Christina Coakwell. Dr. Coakwell will do a thorough examination to assess what therapies would be appropriate for you.

Some treatment techniques include:

  • Relaxation techniques

  • Referral to physiotherapy, chiropractor, or behavioral therapists

  • Medication for pain and inflammation

  • Suggestions to improve sleep

If your symptoms do not improve or completely resolve, your dentist may refer you to a dental specialist with specific training in TMDs; specifically an oral surgeon, periodontist, or prosthodontist.

If you're experiencing any of the symptoms of TMD, it's essential to see a dentist for an evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment are key in preventing long-term damage to the joint and minimizing pain. Contact us for more information about custom mouth guards and how they can help with TMJ disorders. Our helpful staff would be glad to help you with any inquiries you may have.

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