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Stop Your Jaw Pain with a Nightguard

Living with a TMJ disorder is no laughing matter. When the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull, functions incorrectly, it leads to a variety of symptoms that negatively impact your quality of life. Although you may feel alone in the situation, it is estimated as much as 12% of the population suffer from reoccurring jaw pain. Supported by over 30 years of experience in dentistry, we can help you get the relief you need with TMJ treatment in Carmel.

smiling middle aged couple

What Is TMJ Disorder?

Your temporomandibular joint is located on either side of your face and acts as a hinge to connect your jawbone to your skull. When it functions incorrectly, it can cause pain in the joint and the surrounding muscles. This can lead to limited mobility of your jaw, which can make everyday tasks like speaking, chewing, and yawning painful and difficult. This is known as a TMJ or TMD disorder.

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What Causes TMJ Disorder?

Although a TMJ disorder can occur in anyone, women as twice as likely as men to develop it. There are several reasons why it may occur, such as genetics, arthritis, or a past jaw injury. Often, it is found in people who have a habit of grinding or clenching their teeth, known as bruxism. On the other hand, a TMJ disorder can often lead to bruxism. In some cases, the disorder can also be the result of a poorly aligned bite placing uneven pressure on the joints. No matter the cause, your dentist in Carmel has the solutions you need to stop your pain.

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

A TMJ disorder can produce a variety of symptoms. Although they are often thought to only be localized to the jaw, they can occur in several areas. In some cases, the symptoms may dissipate over time and reoccur in the future from stress or strain on the joint.

Those with a TMJ disorder can experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw or face.
  • Pain in one or both temporomandibular joints.
  • Aching pain in or around your ears.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Difficulty chewing.
  • Jaw locking in an opened or closed position.
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sensation when opening or closing your mouth.
  • Reoccurring headaches.

Your dentist discusses your symptoms and evaluates your oral structures to pinpoint the cause of your discomfort. We then create the customized treatment plan you need to improve your quality of life.

How Can a Custom Nightguard Help with TMJ/TMD?

A custom-made nightguard is the most convenient treatment for TMJ disorders. It is designed from an impression of your mouth to align your jaw into a more comfortable resting position. This takes the strain off the joint to improve your symptoms over time. Your jaw is retrained to fall into this position naturally for long-term relief.

Frequently Asked Questions

Even with all this information about TMJ disorder, you may still have some questions. We’ve got the answers! We want you to be informed and completely confident that you’re getting the best care possible to meet your needs and restore your oral health. Know that we are here for you and available to answer your questions and concerns.

Who is likely to get TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorder is most prevalent among women ages 20 to 40 years old. However, it can occur in anyone at any age, even children.

What habits contribute to TMJ pain?

Although sometimes the causes of TMJ disorder are out of your control, such as in the case of an injury, genetics, or arthritis, some habits can exacerbate the problem. These include the following:

  • Clenching your jaw.
  • Grinding your teeth.
  • Frequent gum chewing.
  • Poor posture.
  • Resting the chin on your hand.
  • Yawning too widely.
  • Chewing ice or hard things like pencils.
  • Using your teeth as tools to open packaging or bottles.
What are the advantages of a custom-made nightguard over a commercial one?

Although you can purchase a nightguard at a local drugstore, it’ll be missing a key element of success—a tight, personalized fit. Commercial nightguards can fall out of place during the night, defeating the whole purpose of having a nightguard to begin with. In contrast, we take precise measurements and impressions of your mouth so that your nightguard stays securely where it should be, helping to reposition your jaw and give you respite from your TMJ symptoms.

What can I do on my own to relieve my TMJ pain?

Believe it or not, before you even contact our office, you can do quite a bit to try to alleviate your TMJ pain, including the following:

  • Do not chew gum.
  • Utilize stress-relieving practicing such as deep breathing, mindfulness exercises, aromatherapy or essential oil therapy, etc.
  • Choose to eat softer foods, and avoid biting with your front teeth.
  • Open your mouth only about one to two inches.
  • Chew with both sides of your mouth instead of favoring just one side.
  • Avoid the habits that can make TMJ pain worse.
  • Apply moist heat or a cold compress to the affected joint.
  • Massage the joint gently in a rotating motion.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers.

If you have done all these things and your TMJ pain persists after a while, let us know, and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment for you to discuss your symptoms with one of our skilled, knowledgeable dentists. They can evaluate you and bring you the relief you need. When you need a complete smile again, give us a call and schedule an appointment. Reach out to our office by calling 317-846-3436 at your earliest convenience!