The Ins and Outs of TMJ Discomfort

The month of November is TMJ Awareness Month and, in light of Dr. Aziza Askari’s recent approval for membership with the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, the Comfort Dental Spa team wants to educate you on all things TMJ-related.

What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints, and TMD stands for temporomandibular disorder. Often signaled by severe headaches, jaw pain, neck and back pain, teeth grinding, worn down or damaged teeth, facial pain, jaw clicking or popping, and a ringing in the ears, TMJ problems effect approximately 75 percent of the American population. This widespread dental condition most commonly originates from chronic stress or misalignment of the jaw or teeth.

Often, teeth grinding and clenching, a habit called bruxism, is also a cause of TMJ discomfort. Highly stressed individuals are likely to clench their jaws and teeth together, resulting in tooth damage and TMJ problems when the jaw muscles become overworked.

Why is it necessary to treat TMJ?

TMJ dysfunction can make even the simplest of daily activities challenging, and sufferers often report that their symptoms worsen during periods of prolonged stress and sickness. Don’t live in discomfort any longer. Dr. Askari has years of experience treating patients with TMJ troubles and she wants to help you say goodbye to your discomfort for good.

How is TMJ dysfunction treated?

If the cause of your TMJ discomfort stems from crooked teeth or a “bad bite,” Dr. Askari may try to address the problem with Invisalign clear braces. This treatment will shift your teeth to the desired position, hopefully realigning the way your teeth and jaw fit together and eliminating your discomfort.

If your TMJ pain is a result of something else, such as an injury, Dr. Askari will thoroughly examine your mouth and jaw to determine what needs to be done to correct the problem. This exam will include a bite evaluation, x-rays, and a review of your medical history in order to make an accurate diagnosis and recommendation for treatment. Once a firm diagnosis is attained, Dr. Askari can provide relief in several ways. A custom-fitted nightguard can stop subconscious teeth grinding during sleeping hours. Often, once a bruxism habit is stopped, the bruxer no longer feels discomfort during the day and is no longer at risk for tooth damage as a result of teeth grinding and jaw clenching.

In severe cases, the best option to eliminate TMJ troubles is to change the shape of the teeth and bite in a process called realignment. This treatment not only alleviates TMJ symptoms, but it also improves the appearance of the teeth and smile. Realignment involves adjusting the relationship between how the upper and lower teeth come together, which may include a combination of restorative and orthodontic dental work.  The result is a precisely aligned, attractive, restored, and comfortable smile.

If you experience any symptoms of TMJ pain, Dr. Askari and her dental team encourage you to call Comfort Dental Spa, located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, at (248) 474-6434 to reserve an appointment.