TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects your mandible (lower jaw) to your skull at the temporal bone. While many call disorders associated with this joint, TMJ, those disorders are more appropriately called TMD (temporomandibular disorder), and TMD can have symptoms that range from teeth grinding and headaches to trouble chewing and pain when opening and closing your mouth. TMD is not only an annoying disorder; it is also a destructive one and can cause serious damage to your teeth if left untreated. At our office in Silver Spring, MD, Dr. David Bishop can determine if you suffer from TMD and offer ways to treat the disorder.
The TMJ controls an assortment of jaw functions, including chewing, so if you’re chewing muscles or the joint itself is in pain, it is possible that you have TMD. TMD is often caused by stress, which leads to unconscious clenching and teeth grinding while awake and asleep. TMD’s symptoms include pain, trouble chewing, lock jaw, headaches or ear pain and a popping or clicking sound when opening your mouth. However, these symptoms may be indicative of other health problems as well, so it is important to see a medical professional for a diagnosis.
Grinding your teeth is an especially worrisome TMD-associated behavior since it can lead to further problems with your mouth. If your teeth grinding is left unaddressed, you will cause serious wear to the enamel of your teeth and expose the dentin, which will make your teeth more sensitive to heat and cold and more susceptible to decay. However, you can work with Dr. Bishop to relieve symptoms with mouth guards or night guards.
If you think that you might be suffering from TMD or teeth grinding, schedule an appointment Bishop & Bishop Dental by calling (301) 608-9270. For more information, visit www.bishopdental.com.