What is TMJ?
The acronym TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints. These small joints hold the jaw to the skull and allow us to move our mouths when chewing and speaking. Unfortunately, when teeth become misaligned, the joints can become unbalanced. Stress, heredity, and physical abnormalities can also contribute to TMJ disorder.
Why is TMJ disorder painful?
A complex system of nerves and muscles surround the temporomandibular joints. The muscles must compensate for misaligned joints by holding the mouth in proper position. Over time, jaw muscles become fatigued. Nerves send pain signals to the brain. It’s not uncommon to experience chronic earaches, tingling extremities, and head, neck, and shoulder pain with TMJ disorder. Some patients even complain of back pain. Jaw muscles may also spasm at night, causing you to clench and grind your teeth while sleeping. This condition, called bruxism, leads to further pain and dental trauma.
Well what can I do about it?
Dr. James Stewart will thoroughly examine your jaws, head, neck, and teeth to determine if you suffer from TMJ disorder. He may suggest an oral appliance to reposition your jaw and eliminate bruxism. The appliance can be comfortably worn in your mouth at night and/or during the day.
Don’t let TMJ disorder disturb your life. Call Dr. Stewart’s dental office in Livonia, Michigan at (734) 425-4400, and schedule an appointment in our Livonia dental office. Pain-free living may be just a dental visit away!