23020 Highland Knolls Drive, Suite B, Katy, TX 77494

COVID-19 Precautions: We are open again! We wanted to share with you the measures we have taken to ensure your peace of mind.


A healthy, functional jaw is
necessary for a happy smile

If you’re familiar with our practice and team, you know that at McCulloch-Wilson Dental, we want to help you keep your oral health in tip-top shape because your overall health can’t be optimal without that foundation. Part of that foundation includes your jaw and one little joint that connects your mandible (lower jaw) to your temporal bone (skull). This is called your TMJ, and if it suffers from dysfunction, it can cause a heap of pain. Luckily, we can help you treat the cause so you’re not stuck endlessly treating symptoms.

What is TMJ?

TMJ is the abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. If someone says they have TMJ, you might think: “Don’t we all?” However, they’re probably referring to TMD, which is temporomandibular joint disorder, but the terms are used interchangeably both within and outside of the medical and dental communities. It’s a mouthful either way, and if you have TMJ, just the word mouthful can cause you to grimace reflexively.

If that sounds extreme, it’s because it can be, unfortunately. When your jaw joint is suffering for any reason, it can cause all kinds of seemingly unrelated symptoms that make it difficult to smile—not just physically, but emotionally due to the pain that can be involved.

TMJ Infographic

Click the image above to expand

Signs & Symptoms of TMJ/TMD

  • Chronic teeth grinding and jaw clenching
  • Popping, clicking, and/or pain when opening and closing your mouth or moving your jaw from side to side
  • Jaw and facial pain while eating, speaking, and at rest
  • Frequent earaches, tinnitus, and dizziness
  • Tooth pain and sensitivity
  • Persistent headaches and migraines
  • Excessive wearing of your teeth

Potential Causes of TMJ/TMD

  • High stress levels
  • Misaligned bite & teeth
  • Inflammatory diseases like arthritis
  • Trauma to the face and jaw
  • Nail biting and lip chewing
  • Sleep apnea
  • Frequent gum chewing
  • Hormones (women are 4 times more likely to suffer from TMJ, especially in childbearing years; links are being made between birth control and bone and joint changes)

How is TMJ/TMD Treated?

Treatment for TMJ can vary depending on the suspected cause. For example, if it’s due to arthritis, prescription medication may be used to decrease flare-ups. If stress seems to be the main cause, relaxation techniques will be helpful. Women whose hormones may exacerbate the condition may want to discuss different birth control options with their healthcare provider. In the cases of traumatic injury, surgery may be required, and if sleep apnea, which can cause nighttime teeth grinding and jaw clenching, is a factor, an oral appliance or CPAP machine might be successful in treating the TMJ dysfunction.

In nearly each of these cases, a nightguard can offer additional relief. Protecting your teeth and jaw while you sleep can prevent the need for dental repairs in the future, and prevent painful migraines and difficulty chewing food. We can create a custom-fitted mouthguard for you that is comfortable and durable enough to wear night after night.

Don’t Let Jaw Pain Keep You from Smiling!

If you have any questions about TMJ/TMD or would like to schedule a consultation with your Katy dentists, Dr. Wilson and Dr. McCulloch, we’d love to hear from you!

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