At PDX Center for Dentistry, we want to make sure that your oral health stays in great shape. We understand how difficult it can be when your mouth starts to cause you issues. It’s easy to take it for granted when it doesn’t give you trouble. As soon as you start to notice a change in the way your bite fits together or if you start to notice an ache or pain in your mouth, call us at (503) 546-9079 to schedule an appointment. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts as the hinge for your jaw and can cause some serious issues if something changes in your bite.
What is the temporomandibular joint?
The temporomandibular joint is where your lower jaw connects to the base of your skull. The TMJ is a unique joint in the body because of the incredible mobility it allows your jaw. The TMJ allows you to move your jaw up and down, back and forth, even side so side. This swinging and swaying allows us to the incredible ability to eat and speak the way we do. The complexity of this joint is compounded when you consider how your bite fits together. For your jaw to feel as though it is at rest, all of your teeth must come together perfectly, like pieces of a puzzle. Think about the last time you got a popcorn kernel stuck in between your teeth; it probably felt like a huge piece of food, but it was just a thin slice of the kernel. That illustrates how complex and precise the relationship between your bite and the TMJ is. Everything must fit together perfectly, or else it feels wrong and can lead to what is called temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).
How TMJ/TMD Starts
It’s important to pay attention to the signals that your body sends you; this is true of TMJ issues. A wide variety of issues can alter the way your teeth or jaw come together, and all it takes is a little bit of time and you avoiding the issue before it becomes worse. TMD can start with something as simple as grinding your teeth or be caused by more serious changes like the loss of a tooth. No matter what the cause, it is important that you come in right away to begin treatment so that we can catch it before it gets worse.
How is TMD treated?
We use bite guards that are worn at night to help alleviate issues with your TMJ. Sometimes we will recommend physical therapy as an additional form of treatment. Bite guards are typically worn at night to prevent bruxism and to give your teeth a solid platform on which to sit.
Get The Ball Rolling
If you notice that your bite has stopped fitting together, or if you feel a significant amount of discomfort or fatigue in your jaw, give us a call at (503) 546-9079 to set up an appointment. We will schedule you a no obligation consultation where we can diagnose your issue and start a treatment plan right away.