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tmj pain

Jaw pain and TMJ Disorders

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Jaw pain and TMJ Disorders

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

The temporomanibular joints are a set of sophisticated hinges that allow us to open and close our jaws. They are constantly used throughout our waking hours to chew, swallow and express ourselves. Therefore, it is no surprise that pain and injury to these structures is not uncommon. Read on to learn more about what causes jaw joint pain and how to treat it!

The temporomandibular joints (“TMJs”) are a two hinging joints that allow the mandible to move against the Temporal bone of the skull. They have a complex movement, where the joint's head initially rotates in its socket and eventually slides forward to complete the movement. There are a number of muscles and ligaments that stabilize the TMJ, along with a cartilage disc that cushions and smoothens its action.

Most TMJ pain comes from acute injury to one of the attached joints or ligaments. Excessive gum chewing, staying open for a dental procedure and night time tooth grinding are all common culprits. Just like any other sprain, the best therapy is to allow the joint time to heal. Rest, ice packs, warm compresses and anti-inflammatory medicines like Ibuprofen are all great ways to get your jaw joints feeling great again.

Long-standing jaw pain, pain combined with a change in the joint’s range-of-motion  and pain after extreme trauma (like a car accident or physical violence) are signs of a more serious problem. The jaw joints or the cushioning disc can become dislocated, creating painful and limited motions. Fractures of the mandible can manifest as TMJ pain as well. Pain with new grinding or popping sounds can also be a sign of arthritic damage or traumatic disc displacement. In these cases, evaluation by an oral surgeon or oral-facial pain expert is the best course of action. This is also a good time to note that jaw popping without pain is usually not an emergent concern.

A final note on TMJ pain is that there are other medical conditions that can manifest themselves as jaw problems. Toothaches, ear infections and even sore throats can feel like jaw pain. Your best bet is to visit your general dentist for an initial evaluation and referral. To learn more about the jaw joints, TMJ disorders and other types of dental pain, please give our office a call!

 

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Dental Crowns In Thousand Oaks

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Dental Crowns In Thousand Oaks

Check out this new video testimonial from one of our very satisfied patients! Twenty years ago, Jennifer suffered from pain and headaches associated with stress on her temporomandibular joint (TMJ). In solving this, her previous dentist used dental crowns to improve the way her teeth came together and ease her TMJ pain. Although the procedure was successful, twenty years of wear combined with gum recession had affected the appearance and function of these restorations. 

Our main focus with this case was creating a long lasting solution that wouldn't bring back Jennifer's headaches and pain. We also wanted to give her a beautiful and natural smile she could be proud of. In doing this, Dr. Kari Ann Hong replaced twelve crowns on her upper arch and six crowns and six veneers on her lower. She used Emax lithium disilicate material instead of the previous porcelain and metal crowns to improve on esthetics and wear. The result is a spectacular smile that keeps Jennifer happy and healthy. For more information on dental crowns, dental veneers and TMJ pain, please email us at staff@thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com or call our office at (805) 480-9820. 

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Video Blog on TMJ Pain and Night Guards

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Video Blog on TMJ Pain and Night Guards

Greetings, my name is Dr. Kari Ann Hong and I have a family dentistry practice where I see patients from all age groups. In my practice, I see a number of patients that clench or grind their teeth at night.  This extra function at night can cause headaches, morning muscle pain when chewing, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, tooth pain, and breakage of teeth.  The number one way to protect the teeth and muscle groups from the clenching and grinding is to wear a custom fitted night guard.

The first step in making a night guard is to take impressions of your teeth and to take an impression of how your teeth come together when your jaw is slightly open.  From the impressions, we make stone models that are used to fabricate a custom fitted acrylic night guard.  Usually we make the appliance for the lower arch.  During the one hour fitting appointment, we adjust the surface of the acrylic so that when the upper teeth touch the appliance, they all hit evenly.  Also, when you grind side to side or forward, the appliance is adjusted so that the majority of the force happens on the front off the appliance. This helps protect the facial muscle groups and the TMJ.

Due to concerns about the cost of a custom fitted night guard, sometimes patients will buy over the counter boil and bite type appliances.  The disadvantage of these boil and bite appliances, is that the opposing teeth don’t have freedom of movement, thereby potentially causing additional interferences for the TMJ and increased firing of the muscle groups that help our jaw open and close.  Depending on your medical and/or dental insurance plan, there usually is some coverage for a custom fitted night guard to treat TMJ pain.  If you would like to find out if a custom fitted night guard is right for you, and what your cost would be, please fill out the contact us page.

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