Occlusal Wear, TMD, NightguardsSome 60 million Americans have TMJ. Simply put, TMJ is the syndrome that happens when the muscles in the jawand the temporomandibular joint are out of alignment or misaligned, causing problems when chewing. In plainEnglish, the ligaments, muscles, bones and joints do not line up, causing pain.

Some Symptoms Associated with TMJ:

  • a clicking, popping or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • headaches and/or dizziness
  • tenderness in the jaw muscles
  • earache
  • jaws that sometimes lock open when yawning or if mouth is held open
  • spasm or cramps in the jaw area (very common)

What Causes TMJ?  These are the most common causes:

  • accidents
  • developmental (natural) defects, including the wearing-down of teeth or fillings causing a misalignment of the teeth
  • surgery
  • orthodontics
  • stress that causes clenching of the jaws and grinding of the teeth
  • naturally misaligned teeth

What Can be Done to Correct TMJ?
If the temporomandibular area has been damaged by arthritis or as a result of an accident, surgery may be neededto correct the TMJ and re-establish the proper occlusion. Most likely, your doctor will recommend a therapy thatmay include a therapeutic splint, bite splint, or nightquard and specific exercises to keep the teeth from touchingand to allow the joint to remain lined up, allowing the jaw’s hinge area to relax. Such therapy increases your comfort by diminishing the TMJ pain. If a splint is prescribed for you, it is very important that you follow you’re the instructions regarding the amount of time and time of day you must wear it.

Grinding (“bruxism”) and Clenching:  These conditions require you to wear your splint only at night, whilesleeping. This is occurring more frequently due to the sask wearing for Covid 19. One way to avoid the clenching and night grinding, potential fracture of the teeth and TMJ problems, is to keep your teeth apart in your waking hours.

Your teeth should only touch 2-3 second/day to include all your meals. When you allow your teeth to touch your memory muscle in your jaws return to this position while you sleep causing grinding and damage to your teeth and TMJ joint. Better said, Keep your teeth apart!

Clean the splint Spint can be cleaned by brushing it. Keep it in water and mouthwash solution when it is not in your mouth.