TMJ & Bruxism Treatment

Do you grind and clench your teeth? Do you experience difficulty chewing or pain and limited movement when you open and close your mouth?

These are symptoms of a problem with the TMJ or temporomandibular joint or associated muscles. You have two jaw joints, one on either side of your face that connects your lower jaw to your skull. When one of them does not function correctly, it's called TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder.

Jaw joint pain and symptoms can be simply annoying or so debilitating that they affect a person's quality of life. Fortunately, Dr. Andrew Katerakis offers TMJ pain relief for patients in Troy, OH, using a simple, customized dental device.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

TMD occurs when TMJ muscles and ligaments become sore or inflamed; this commonly occurs due to one or more of the following:

  • Bruxism or teeth grinding
  • Uneven dental bite
  • Trauma to the TMJ
  • Arthritis
  • Stress

How Bruxism Affects the TMJ

Bruxism is often associated with TMJ problems and occurs when you unconsciously clench or grind your teeth. Some people grind their teeth during the day due to stress or anxiety, which is called awake bruxism.

Sleep bruxism occurs when clenching and grinding occurs during sleep. A person may not be aware they have sleep bruxism but experience symptoms like jaw, neck, and shoulder pain and headaches when they're awake. Often a dentist diagnoses sleep bruxism when they detect abnormal tooth wearing.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Numerous symptoms associated with TMJ disorder include:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Facial pain or swelling
  • Jaws locked open or closed
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Popping or clicking sounds
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

Risk Factors for Developing TMD

Some risk factors for TMJ pain are:

  • Stress — Stress is a major risk factor for TMJ disorder. Some stress-related habits that affect the jaw joint are gum chewing, teeth grinding during the day, or clenching and unclenching your jaw.
  • Medical or dental conditions — Misaligned teeth or an uneven dental bite contribute to TMD, as do osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, facial or jaw injuries such as a dislocated jaw, or jaw deformities.
  • Age and gender — Adults between the ages of 20 and 40 are at the greatest risk, and women are three times more likely to develop TMJ disorder than men.

How Do I Know if I Have TMJ Disorder?

The first step is an appointment with our TMJ dentist, where he will: 

  • Ask about the symptoms you are experiencing
  • Have you open and close your jaw and observe the range of motion.
  • Feel your jaw joints as you open and close your mouth.

Dr. Katerakis will typically recommend a panoramic x-ray, which provides a wide view of your mouth, including your jaw joints, and can help him determine the extent of the damage.

TMJ Treatment and Pain Relief in Troy, OH

Many of our patients benefit from a custom nightguard to relieve jaw joint pain and other TMJ symptoms.

The nightguard protects your teeth from the effects of grinding and clenching, and the guard also gives your TMJ a chance to rest and recover overnight.

TMJ Pain Relief Is a Phone Call Away!

We have helped many patients find relief from TMJ pain without expensive treatment or invasive surgery. Please call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Katerakis at our Troy, OH, dental office so we can help you.