If you are noticing subtle changes to your smile, like a shifting bite, for example, you may be developing problems with your temporomandibular joints. TMJ dysfunction is surprisingly common among patients of all ages. Our Saint Paul TMJ dentists encourage you to reach out for treatment as soon as you notice symptoms of TMJ disorder.
What is TMJ disorder?
Your temporomandibular joints are the joints on either side of your skull that hold your lower jaw in place. When these joints are irritated, poorly aligned, or damaged you are experiencing TMJ dysfunction.
Some patients experience TMJ problems sporadically: during times of stress, for example. However, other people deal with TMJ problems chronically. Chronic TMJ issues are often linked to poor bite alignment and bruxism.
How do I know if I have it?
TMJ disorder can present in a number of different ways. You may first notice that your jaw joints feel sore or tender. You may find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth—this is called bruxism. As TMJ dysfunction becomes more severe, your jaw may begin to “lock,” and you may have trouble opening your mouth all of the way. Additionally, if you start experiencing regular headaches, especially upon waking, talk to your dentist about a TMJ screening.
Why does it need to be treated?
TMJ problems can become more severe, and harder to treat, over time. If left unchecked, TMJ disorder can lead to limited jaw mobility, premature dental wear and tear, and cracked and chipped enamel.
Timely treatment will bring your bite into balance. Depending on the underlying cause of your TMJ issues, we may recommend that you improve your dental alignment with orthodontics, wear a TMJ oral appliance at night, or replace failing restorations with new porcelain or composite resin.
As always, our Saint Paul TMJ dentists are here to explain your treatment options, and provide you with state-of-the-art care.