Integrative TMJ Treatments in the Chicago Loop
The right CHOICE for fighting jaw pain
Tooth clenching and grinding — the true cause of most jaw pain
When you hold your teeth together too often, you can create pain in the joint that opens and closes your mouth. This is the temporomandibular joint, more commonly known as the TMJ. Inflammation of the TMJ is the cause of pain and stiffness in the jaw joint.
So, how does the TMJ become inflamed?
Believe it or not, teeth clenching or grinding is the most common cause of TMJ inflammation and pain.
What most people do not realize is that ANY contact between teeth other than when eating is too much contact. At rest, there is supposed to be a space between your teeth. When you ask someone to close their lips, they should not automatically touch their teeth. Teeth that touch are a stress on the TMJ and lead to inflammation and pain.
At Choices in Dentistry, we offer our patients non-surgical TMJ treatments that really work. Call (312) 368-8771 to schedule an appointment.
How do we treat TMJ pain?
- Are you clenching all day?
- During your strenuous workouts?
- Before a big meeting or another stressful event?
- At night while you sleep?
Answering these questions is where your treatment begins. We may offer:
- “Grinder reminder” — sometimes just being aware of the problem can help you stop
- Well-fitted mouthguards can be worn while working out to reduce clenching and grinding
- Mild muscle relaxants can help with nighttime grinding, particularly if you’re experiencing a lot of pain
- Referral to a physical therapist can help determine if there’s an anatomical cause of (and solution to) your TMJ pain
About Choices in Dentistry
You’ll get the information you need to make the best possible decision for your smile and health. We’ll explain every option and answer any questions you have. Our unique approach to dentistry emphasizes…
- Personalized care
- High-tech and high-quality treatments
- Friendly and gentle dentists and staff
- Eco-friendly office
- Easy to understand billing and insurance options
What about nightguards?
Many dentists are too quick to recommend a nightguard. When a traditional dentist sees wear on someone’s teeth, they quickly diagnose that it’s from nighttime grinding and jump to a conclusion the patient needs a night guard.
At Choices in Dentistry, as an integrative practice, we evaluate the wear we see to answer these questions.
- Is it functional and normal wear?
- Are some teeth more worn than others?
- Is the wear happening at night or is another cause at play?
Only when a patient agrees that it’s a nighttime habit that requires a nightguard, do we discuss their options.
An over-the-counter DIY night guard can be a good place to start. They’re inexpensive but tend to be bulky. We can show you how to trim one down so that it’s more comfortable. Then there’s an intermediate option, our “in-house” mouthguards that are more durable and comfortable than store-bought options. If those don’t work, we’ll recommend a rigid custom lab-made nightguard. This option is the most expensive but can last for years.
We try to avoid overreacting and jumping to expensive and invasive treatment options. By working to understand what’s causing your joint pain, we can recommend a treatment option that we’re confident will be successful.
Very friendly staff and great experience overall!
– Douglas S.