TMJ? TMD? You may need a mouth “splint”

Toothache. Woman Suffering From Tooth PainAre you experiencing headaches and jaw tenderness? Notice an annoying clicking sound when you open or close your mouth? You could be suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder, known as TMD (also called TMJ).

The temporomandibular joint is like a sliding hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. TMD signifies a problem with the chewing muscles and joints of the jaw, often caused by stress. Other symptoms can include facial pain or facial swelling, earaches as well as difficulty chewing or even yawning. Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) might help in the short-term, as well as trying to reduce stress, eating softer foods and avoiding chewing gum. You should also visit your dentist.

Williamsburg Dental can properly diagnosis TMD. One of the popular treatments for TMD is a custom-made oral appliance called a sleep or night guard that can relieve pain or the damaging effects of “bruxism,” the grinding and clenching of the teeth that occurs mainly at night. The oral appliance or “splint” we make fits over your teeth while you’re sleeping, although some patients may wear the guards during the day as well to prevent damage to the teeth.

Mouth guards can relieve symptoms so that you feel very little or no discomfort. If you suspect you have TMD or bruxism, talk to your dentist here at Williamsburg Dental and ask about fitting you with an appliance. We’ll check your bite alignment, listen to your jaw for that tell-tale popping, feel for tenderness and assess to see if you are a candidate for a mouth guard appliance. Your dental appliance may be just the sound investment you need to relieve pain and prevent additional dental work (for problems like broken fillings or cracked teeth) down the road.