If you suffer from pain or discomfort in your jaw, or you notice a clicking or popping sound when you open and close your mouth, or you experience regular headaches, you might have TMJ, or temporomandibular joint syndrome, or another type of TMD, like Bruxism.

What is TMJ?

TMJ is your temporomandibular joint or the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. This joint allows your jaw to open and close, and it allows you to eat and speak. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) refer to issues associated with your jaw movement and the muscles in your face that control it. TMD frequently causes severe pain and discomfort. Bruxism is a condition characterized by grinding and clenching of the teeth, mostly at night. Bruxism can be caused by TMD, and it can also cause or worsen TMD. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to permanent damage to teeth, including fractured teeth, lose or sensitive teeth, damage to fillings or other dental work, jaw pain, headaches and potential hearing loss.

Symptoms of TMD:

  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck, shoulders and in and around the early when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide.
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Upper neck pains/aches and shoulder pain
  • Stiffness
  • Earaches
  • Locked jaw
  • Bite problems
  • A clicking or popping sound when opening or closing your mouth
  • Tooth sensitivity or toothache
  • Hearing problems/ringing in the ear

Treatment for TMD: Night Guard

Chinook Smiles is committed to helping treat symptoms associated with TMD. Once TMD is diagnosed, the first step in treatment is usually a custom night guard or splint. A night guard is a custom-made dental device that is worn over the upper and lower teeth to realign the jaw and alleviate pain associated with any misalignment. Realigning the jaw and preventing jaw clenching will help alleviate symptoms.

The night guard also works to protect against the physical wear and tear to the teeth from the constant grinding of bruxism so that you bite against the night guard, rather than wearing down your teeth. Nightguards have been shown to provide effective relief from TMD and protection from the negative results of teeth grinding, like chipping and breaking of the teeth. They are most often the first step in treatment before looking deeper for an alternative treatment. If the pain associated with grinding, like a sore jaw, headache, and tooth pain, is not improved through the use of the night guard, your dentist may refer you to a specialist in TMD.

Chinook Smiles looks forward to helping treat your TMD symptoms, including the symptoms and effects of Bruxism, and we invite you to book an appointment with us to review your symptoms and discuss possible treatment options.

Benefits of Using a Night Guard

A nightguard will help to:

  • Preserve Your Teeth: Night guards create a protective barrier, preventing excessive wear on your teeth caused by bruxism.
  • Alleviate Jaw Pain: By reducing the force on your jaw joint and muscles, a night guard can help alleviate jaw pain and tension headaches.
  • Prevent Dental Damage: Night guards protect your teeth from chipping, cracking, and enamel erosion caused by bruxism.
  • Improve Sleep Quality: With a night guard, you can sleep more comfortably and wake up feeling refreshed, without the discomfort of teeth grinding.
  • Customized Comfort: Our dental team will custom-fit your night guard for optimal comfort, ensuring it fits securely and doesn’t interfere with your sleep.

At Chinook Smiles, making a custom-fitted night guard for you is a fast and easy experience. Our team starts by taking an extremely accurate digital scan of your teeth, then designs the night guard to fit your jaw. Next, utilizing our state-of-the-art laboratory grade 3D printer, the night guard is fabricated with biocompatible resins.