The Warning Signs Of TMJ Disorder

Last week, we talked about the impact of bruxism. Today, we’re going to look at another common jaw joint issue: TMJ disorder. Also known as TMD, this issue could lead to serious discomfort and even a greater chance of teeth grinding developing. What warning signs should our Gary, IN, patients know?

What Does a Popping Jaw Mean?

The disorder occurs when enormous strain is placed on the temporomandibular joints, which connect the jaw to the skull and controls the actions needed to eat and speak. The pressure could be caused by tooth loss, injury to the face or jaw, misalignment, malocclusion, or stress. Over time, patients develop difficulties opening and closing the mouth completely. Symptoms may include a popping or crackling sensation in the jaw, headaches, jaw pain, facial discomfort, and aches in the neck or shoulders. If you begin to experience any of these common symptoms, then let us know right away.

The Connection to Bruxism

Without treatment, the pressure on the jaw joints may lead to the onset of bruxism, in which a patient frequently grinds or clenches the teeth. Over time, bruxism causes damaged teeth and serious complications, such as decay or infection. Likewise, untreated bruxism, which places pressure on the jaw joints, could lead to TMJ disorder.

Treating TMD

Treatment varies. For example, we may recommend placing a dental restoration or undergoing orthodontic treatment. However, the most common treatment option is a custom-made mouthguard. Worn at night, the device repositions the jaw to ease strain on the joints. If you have bruxism, the mouthguards prevent further damage by placing a barrier between the upper and lower sets of teeth. If you have any questions about treating TMJ disorder and bruxism, or if you think you may benefit from our custom-made mouthguard, then contact our team today.

Do You Have Questions About TMD?

We want to help treat TMJ disorder with our comfortable and custom-made mouthguard. To schedule an appointment with your dentist, contact Healthy Smiles in Gary, IN, by calling 219-938-2637, or by emailing our office at We also proudly serve the residents of Gary, Miller, Miller Beach, and all surrounding communities.