If you suffer from chronic headaches, facial pain, upper body pain, or ringing in your ears, there may be an imbalance in your jawbone's joints. These joints are called temporomandibular joints, (also commonly known as "TMJ.") They control the way your jaw moves. To eat, speak, and bite properly, both sides of the joint must move together.

Unfortunately, it is easy for these joints to fall out of balance. This is often referred to as TMJ disorder or TMD (temporomandibular disorder). A TMJ disorder can lead to a long list of adverse outcomes. At Kevin Spees Dentistry, we know how frustrating and debilitating these pains can be. That is why we are proud to offer a variety of solutions to help treat TMJ disorder.

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?

There are many symptoms caused by TMJ Disorder. Some of the more common include:

  • Migraines
  • Worn/chipped/cracked teeth
  • Chronic headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain around the jaw joints
  • Locking jaw
  • Neck, shoulder, or back pain, and
  • Clicking sounds in the jaw joints

What Is bruxism?

Bruxism is a term often used hand-in-hand with TMJ disorder. Bruxism occurs when an individual grinds or clenches their jaws at night during their sleep, which can cause headaches, migraines, loose teeth, jaw pain, facial pain, etc. Long-term grinding can cause permanent damage to the teeth and jaw muscles – often leading to TMJ disorder.

How is TMJ disorder diagnosed?

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, Dr. Spees may want to examine your jaw. This exam will help Dr. Spees determine whether there is a problem with your bite or with the interaction between your upper and lower jawbones.

He may also take X-rays to examine the overall structure of your jaw. Your facial muscles will also be examined to identify any tension that may be caused by a malfunction in the temporomandibular joints.

How are TMJ disorders and bruxism treated?

If you believe you may be suffering from TMJ disorder or nighttime grinding/clenching, there are treatment options available. To treat both of these disorders, Dr. Spees may recommend an NTI device. By using advanced imaging technology, he can create a custom nightguard device that can help realign the jaw and prevent grinding and clenching. By eliminating the side-effects of bruxism, many common causes of TMJ disorder-related pain can be relieved.

If you have questions about TMJ disorder, bruxism, or custom NTI devices, contact our Zionsville or Lebanon office today. Our Zionsville location can be reached at 317-873-2206, and our Lebanon location can be reached at 765-482-6672. Our staff would be happy to schedule a consultation!

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