Common oral health problems, like tooth decay and gum disease, typically begin the same way for most patients. Both are caused by the excessive buildup of oral bacteria, or dental plaque and tartar, on your teeth and along your gum line. In each case, certain types of bacteria produce harmful substances that attack your teeth or gums. However, in the case of TMJ disorder, the cause of the condition, the specific nature of it, and the particular ways in which the jaw joints are compromised are not always the same for everyone.
The purpose of your TMJs
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are responsible for providing the hinge upon which your lower jaw moves when you open and close it. Each TMJ is located on either side of your jaw, where it connects to the rest of your skull, and both must move at the same time for your bite to function properly. The proper balance and function of your TMJs is a culmination of several different factors, including the alignment of your teeth and oral structures, as well as the potential presence of other bite problems (such as bruxism).
What TMJ disorder could mean
When one or both of your TMJs are unable to function properly, the specific cause of it may not be easy to identify at first. TMJ disorder can describe various forms and degrees of damage to one or both of the joints, or a problem with alignment that makes it difficult for them to move together when you bite and chew. For some patients with TMJ disorder, the nature of the damage may be traced back to excessive amounts of pressure being placed on their jaw joints. This can be due to a chronic teeth-grinding habit, often known as bruxism, or a misalignment in their teeth that forces their jaws to compensate when they bite and chew.
How to find the right solution
Identifying TMJ disorder and its specific cause is essential to successfully treating it and finding relief from the chronic jaw pain and other symptoms it can cause. For many people, it can include wearing a custom-designed oral appliance designed to alleviate excessive pressure and tension on their TMJs. If the underlying bite problem is more severe, then finding relief from TMJ disorder may require a more involved treatment plan to restore your bite’s overall balance and function.
Find relief with custom TMJ treatment
TMJ disorder can manifest itself differently for different patients, which is why identifying and addressing it requires help from your dentist. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, call our dental office in Los Angeles, CA, today at (310) 446-GUMS (4867). We also proudly serve patients living in Santa Monica, Culver City, Beverly Hills, Century City, Encino, and all surrounding communities.