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TMJ Disorders

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.

  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw.

    Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints.

    Aching pain in and around your ear.

    Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing.

    Aching facial pain.

    Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth.

    TMJ disorders can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew.

  • When to see a doctor
  • Seek medical attention if you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw, or if you can't open or close your jaw completely.

The temporomandibular joint combines a hinge action with sliding motions. The parts of the bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk, which normally keeps the movement smooth.

    Painful TMJ disorders can occur if:
  • The disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment
  • The joint's cartilage is damaged by arthritis
  • The joint is damaged by a blow or other impact

Night Guard

A nightguard is a retainer-like plastic piece that can be hard or soft. It covers the biting surfaces and can be worn on either the bottom or top set of teeth. Since patients have different teeth patterns, a nightguard is custom-made for each patient by molding it to fit your teeth without the risk of being uncomfortable or unnecessarily bulky. It has many names; therefore, when you hear dentists talk about a mouthguard, occlusal guard, bite splint, dental guard, or nocturnal bite plate, they refer to the same thing.