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TMJ disorder is a general term used to describe pain, inflammation, or other discomfort in the temporomandibular joints that hinge your jaw. Each of the joints works in concert with a series of muscles and ligaments to move your lower jaw. Within the joint itself, there is a small disc of cartilage. This allows a small amount of slip, enabling you to grind food.

TMJ disorder can arise from any number of issues related to the components and function of the joint.

Chronic night grinding of your teeth is one of the more common causes of TMJ disorder. The tension placed on the muscles, ligaments, and joints can result in soreness and inflammation. If this is the case, you might find significant relief from using a night guard when you sleep. The soft yet durable plastic material allows teeth to slip easily while also providing some cushioning. This can also help prevent chips on your teeth from the extreme grinding pressure.

If you’ve suffered a past dislocation in either of the temporomandibular joints, it could also lead to TMJ disorder symptoms. In a situation like this, it’s possible that one or two of the joints might not have seated back together perfectly. The alignment issues can cause inflammation and pain as well as early onset arthritis.

Of course, the natural process of aging can also cause TMJ arthritis. As you age, basic activities like speaking, chewing and grinding tough foods can wear down the cartilage. Chronic night grinding can exacerbate symptoms.

If you’re concerned that you might have developed TMJ disorder in Corpus Christi, Texas, you should call 361.994.4900 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ben Vela & Allan Ng at Vela Dental Centers Southside.