TMJ

A Simple Solution to a Complex Problem

Do you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines? Do you clench and grind your teeth? Does your jaw pop, or is it painful to open and close your mouth? You may be one of millions of Americans suffering from TMJ, and you might not even know it. The good news is, we may have a diagnosis and a simple, affordable, non-invasive treatment for you! Your McPherson dentists are happy to offer custom mouth guards or night guards that allow your jaw to rest and heal overnight. Imagine living a life free from chronic orofacial pain!

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What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, or the jaw joint. Any condition or dysfunction of this joint is also referred to as TMJ, but is sometimes called TMD (temporomandibular dysfunction) or even TMJD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) – just to make things confusing. For simplicity, we’ll use TMJ here to describe the joint, as well as any condition or dysfunction of the joint. This is the most commonly used term.

Your TMJ is made up of a complex network of nerves and tendons connecting your lower jaw to your skull. If anything is out of whack, including the alignment of your teeth and bite, it can cause a lot of problems and chronic pain.

Common Causes

It may or may not surprise you that 90% of TMJ sufferers are women. Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly why this is, but there are several hypotheses, including:

  • Women in their childbearing years more likely to suffer TMJ (stress!)
  • Women taking hormonal birth control
  • Hormone receptors found in TMJ of female chimps, not found in male chimps
  • Women more likely to report health problems
  • Arthritis is more common in women

That being said, men can also suffer from TMJ. One of the biggest causes of TMJ is stress. We all carry our stress in different parts of our body. Some of us have restless legs or clench our fists. Some of us raise and tighten our shoulders. But many of us hold our stress in our mouths – aka teeth grinding and clenching, or bruxism.

Common causes of TMJ include:

  • Stress
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching)
  • Traumatic injury
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Improper bite

TMJ Treatment

Many patients who seek TMJ treatment through their primary care doctor will be prescribed pain medication or invasive surgery for more severe cases. Thankfully, your McPherson, KS dentist has a wonderful alternative for you with an oral appliance or custom mouth guard.

TMJ and bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching) go hand-in-hand. Which came first is hard to determine – sort of a chicken versus egg situation. That being said, a custom mouth guard can offer a huge amount of relief for patients suffering from TMJ. Not only can we treat your pain, but we can prevent it from happening in the first place!

Your custom mouth guard should be worn every night to prevent the chronic teeth grinding and clenching that is causing your pain. At last, your TMJ has the chance to rest and heal at night, allowing you to wake up refreshed and pain-free!

We use advanced T-Scan™ technology to help identify occlusal issues (bite problems) including premature contacts, high forces, and interrelationships of bite surfaces. T-Scan™ technology helps us determine if other adjustments in the shape, size or placement of your teeth may be able to help treat your TMJ problems.

A custom mouth guard is a simple, non-invasive, affordable solution that can help you live the pain-free life you deserve.

If you have any questions about TMJ treatment or would like to schedule a visit with your McPherson dentist, Dr. Wince and Dr. Jeffers-Jader at Wince Family Dental Associates, give us a call today or schedule a visit online! Serving our friends, family and neighbors in McPherson, Wichita, Salina, Newton, Hutchinson, and beyond.