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The temporomandibular joints that hinge your jaw work in concert with muscles, ligaments, and a cartilaginous disk to allow you to open your mouth and chew and grind food. These sophisticated joints are essential to the function of your mouth.

The TMJ disorder is a blanket term used to describe an issue with one or both of these joints and the corresponding muscles. This may come in the form of muscle soreness, joint pain or inflammation. TMJ disorder can have multiple causes. Identifying the primary source will help your dentist, Drs. Ben Vela & Alan Rodriguez, develop an effective treatment strategy.

Grinding your teeth at night is a common cause of TMJ disorder. The tension placed on the muscles, ligaments and joints can lead to inflammation and muscle soreness. Some people can find significant relief from sleeping with a custom night guard. The soft yet durable plastic material allows teeth to slip easily while also providing some cushioning.

If you’ve suffered a dislocated jaw in the past, it could have caused damage to one or both of the temporomandibular joints. If a hard fall or blow to the face dislocated one or both joints, they might not have seated back together perfectly. Even a minor misalignment can result in muscle tension and inflammation.

The onset of arthritis in the temporomandibular joints could also be a potential cause. The joints are used for a wide range of activities, including speaking and chewing and grinding tough foods. For some people, this wear and tear can lead to a reduction of cartilage in key areas throughout the joint.

If you are concerned that you might be developing TMJ disorder in Kingsville, Texas, you should call 361.592.4373 to schedule an appointment at Vela Dental Centers Kingsville.