I Still Clench my Teeth and Deal with TMJ Problems
It has been about a year now that I have been dealing with a cracking near my upper jaw, right around my TMJ joint. I went in to see a TMJ specialist and he wrote a prescription for me to get a night guard. So I purchased a one-size fits all guard.
After using it overnight for many weeks, I feel like my bite is off. Maybe it’s supposed to be like this? The best way I can describe it is that I feel like my teeth are not lined up right. I now feel more pain back in the jaw. Not all the time, but again maybe it’s supposed to be that way because that is what the guard is correcting? I am trying to decide if I want to keep up with the night guard or go back into the specialist?
– Dennis in New Jersey
There is not a “one-sized-fits-all” treatment or solution for TMJ disorder. Many dentists may make the claim to effectively treat TMJ, but based on what you have described, it sounds like this “TMJ specialist” may not have made the best diagnosis or recommendation. It sounds like it is time to seek a second opinion.
A properly fitted mouth guard may very well help your clenching problem, as well as relieve stress form you TMJ joint. Although, you need to have one that has been customized to fit your unique needs. That is why the “one-size-fits-all” mouth guard you are using is failing. You need to be seen by an expert TMJ dentist who knows how to pinpoint the cause and get a correct diagnosis. Common causes of TMJ are overbites, misaligned teeth, clenching/grinding, a trauma to the face or mouth, in some cases having premolars removed for braces will cause TMJ problems, or stress can be a major factor.
An expert-level TMJ dentist will be able to provide the proper treatment plan for your individualized needs. Treatments are wide-ranging, from a mouth guard to full mouth reconstruction, and in some cases TMJ surgery. TMJ problems are complex because there are several muscles that surround and influence movement of your jaw in different ways. It’s time to seek the opinion from a TMJ expert that you can trust. Ask for credentials, ask to hear about testimonials from patients with similar issues, and keep looking until you find an experienced dentist.
This post is sponsored by Phoenix dentist Arthur Chal Esthetic and Reconstructive Dentistry.