The temporomandibular joints that hinge your jaw are somewhat complex, which allows them to perform the sophisticated movements of biting, chewing and grinding food. This is possible thanks to a series of muscles, tendons, and ligaments working in concert with the jaw. This allows your lower jaw to slip and apply grinding force.
Unfortunately, there are times when mechanical injury or inflammation issues in these joints can lead to discomfort and pain. The general term used for these issues is TMJ disorder, and it can result from a number of different sources.
Grinding your teeth at night is a common cause of TMJ disorder. The tension placed on the muscles, ligaments and joints can lead to inflammation and muscle soreness. Some people can find significant relief from sleeping with a custom night guard. The soft yet durable plastic material allows the teeth to slip easily while also providing some comfort.
A past dislocation in your jaw can also be a likely cause of TMJ disorder. The temporomandibular joints are quite sophisticated. They have a ball, a socket and a disk of cartilage. If a hard fall or blow to the face dislocated one or both joints, they might not have seated back together perfectly. Even a minor misalignment can result in muscle tension and inflammation.
The onset of arthritis in the temporomandibular joints could also be a potential cause. The joints are used for a wide range of activities, including speaking, chewing and grinding tough foods. In some people, this wear and tear can lead to the reduction of cartilage in key areas throughout the joint.
If you are concerned that you might be developing TMJ disorder in Indianapolis, Indiana, you should call Premier Dental Care at 317-787-6625 to explore the treatment options your dentist, Dr. Marla Wilson, offers.