The "Temporomandibular Joint," more commonly referred to as the "jaw joint," assists in the basic opening and closing movements of the jaw. Unfortunately, this joint is a common area for recurring pain. Although conventional wisdom suggests that "popping" sounds in the jaw indicates a TMJ dysfunction, this is not always true. Many times, your jaw is functioning properly even if a "popping" sound is present when chewing or talking.
We offer a TMJ exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the "hinge" of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue (which cushions the jaw bones during the opening and closing movement of the mouth). Common pain relievers and warm compresses can provide temporary relief for most cases of TMJ.
For more serious cases of TMJ, we will recommend alternate treatments. Often, we will suggest using a mouth guard to relieve teeth grinding. In some cases, we will instruct you to use orthodontic appliances or retainers to alleviate discomfort or redirect positioning of the TMJ joint. For the most severe cases of TMJ, we may recommend certain invasive procedures.
How to maintain your night guard
Once you have been fitted for a night guard, you need to maintain it and keep it clean.
- Do not use toothpaste to clean it
- Either rinse with water and then a clean toothbrush to remove debris, or
- Soak it in a denture cleaning solution that is available over the counter.
- It doesn't matter if you soak it all day or leave it out to dry, both are ok and do not harm the nightguard material.