You wake up every morning with a headache. Your jaws, neck, and shoulders ache. You experience frequent tooth pain. Your jaws click and pop when you open your mouth. Your teeth are worn or damaged. If these symptoms sound familiar, you may have TMJ disorder and/or bruxism – two conditions that often go hand in hand, and can be treated conservatively with a custom oral appliance.

TMJ Disorder

Also known as TMD or TMJ dysfunction, TMJ disorder is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joints and the surrounding nerves and muscles in the face, head, and neck. These joints are located in front of your ears and are responsible for all movements of the lower jaw. Improper functioning of the TMJs can occur for different reasons, including stress, teeth grinding (bruxism), osteoarthritis, bad posture, or a misaligned bite. When the TMJs are out of balance, the surrounding muscles and nerves work hard to compensate, leading to chronic pain and jaw dysfunction.

Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Bruxism is the unconscious act of grinding and/or clenching your teeth on a regular basis. It often occurs during sleep, and many people aren’t even aware they do it. Bruxism, however, can happen at ny time of day. This condition can be both a cause, and a result of TMJ disorder. Other causes include stress, certain medications, and an abnormal bite. Without treatment, bruxism can lead to tooth wear, fractures, and breakage, as well as causing or exacerbating TMJ dysfunction.

Stabilizing Jaws and Protecting Teeth from Damage

To treat TMJ disorder and bruxism, Dr. Allen and Dr. Neumann can create a custom, hard or soft, occlusal splint that reduces the forces of teeth grinding and holds your jaw in the ideal position. Repositioning the jaw joints allows the surrounding tissues to relax, which alleviates the chronic jaw, head, and neck pain of TMJ disorder. Splints also protect your teeth from the damage of bruxism. If your teeth are already worn or broken, which will affect the way your teeth meet and make TMJ disorder or bruxism worse, Dr. Allen and Dr. Neumann can build up the tooth structure with one or more dental crowns to restore your bite function. Custom occlusal splints, combined with restorative procedures to improve your bite, are highly effective treatments for alleviating the pain of bruxism and TMJ dysfunction.

Find Out if TMJ Treatment Can Help You

Through comprehensive, personalized TMJ treatment, we can help you relieve chronic jaw pain and restore your bite’s function. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Allen or Dr. Neumann, call our dental office in Pella, IA, today at (641) 628-1121.