“What’s a “TMJ”?” It’s also known as your Temporal Mandibular joint, where the temporalis bone and the mandible bone come together, otherwise known as your jaw joint. Most people refer to TMJ when they are having a problem with their jaw joint or sore muscles in that area. This is actually called TMJD or Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder.
“How do I know if I have TMJD?” Do you have clicking or popping in your joint? Do you have soreness of your jaw muscles? Do you have a limited opening? Do you clinch or grind your teeth? All of these point to the possibility of TMJD.
Dr. Macalik has taken many courses regarding TMJD at the LD Pankey Institute and the Frank Spear Institute. When your teeth don’t align properly it causes your jaw joint to shift to allow your teeth to fit correctly, leaving your jaw joint in a bad position. Over time, this can cause destruction of the jaw joint on one or both sides. Or some people just have a genetical disposition to be “clinchers and grinders”.
“What can I do about this?” Well, you need to make sure that your jaw joints and your teeth are protected adequately. The first thing we can do is get you into a well-fitting bite splint to protect your teeth and jaw joints while you’re sleeping and not aware that your clinching or grinding your teeth. A bite splint is actually different than a nite guard in that a nite guard protects your teeth and a bite splint protects the teeth and joints. This bite splint should help to relieve any jaw or muscle pain that you may be having as well. On the rare chance that you have actually deteriorated your jaw bone, a bite splint can help to prevent any further destruction.
Most people don’t have a perfectly aligned bite, even if they have gone through orthodontics. Equilibration is a process to balance the patient’s bite to get it to fit evenly and at the same time as the jaw joint is in the correct, seated position. Equilibration consists of shaping teeth by addition or subtraction of tooth structure to allow them to fit correctly.
Give us a call today so we can take a look at your unique situation and decide what is best for your teeth and your TMJ!