What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint, commonly known as the TMJ, is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the rest of the skull. This joint allows your jaw to move smoothly in order to chew, eat, speak, and yawn. If the TMJ becomes damaged, stressed, or misaligned, it may result in significant pain and discomfort. Common signs of TMJ disorder include:

  • Pain in the jaw
  • Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds in the jaw joint when you open and close your mouth
  • Pain in the face, ears, neck, and shoulders
  • Frequent headaches
  • Pain or difficulty when chewing
  • A locked or stuck jaw

There are several causes for TMJ disorders, including stress, arthritis in the TMJ, teeth grinding (bruxism), or trauma to the head, neck, or jaw. If your TMJ problem is caused by teeth grinding, our dentists may recommend a night guard as treatment. A night guard is a custom-made mouth guard that fits over your teeth and prevents them from grinding and clenching together as you sleep. A night guard also helps to avoid other problems caused by bruxism, such as extreme tooth wear and flattened, chipped teeth.

To find out whether you need a night guard or another type of treatment for TMJ in Frederick, Maryland, we encourage you to contact Dr. Cha and Dr. Dinh at Family Smile Center LLC today.