Katrina came to Orangevale Dental complaining of a clicking noise when she opened and closed her mouth and tenderness near her ears, where the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located.

She had no other complaints, but Dr. Alaswad took x-rays as well as performed a comprehensive exam of her jaw and oral cavity to identify any other issues. Based on his findings, he determined that Katrina had a classic case of TMJ disorder caused by overuse of the joints.

Dr. Alaswad also discovered during Katrina’s exam that her teeth had evidence of premature enamel wear on the biting surfaces, damage that’s typically indicative of teeth grinding. By asking some questions, Dr. Alaswad determined that Katrina was most likely grinding her teeth at night, causing irritation and inflammation to her temporomandibular joints.

After providing a protective custom mouthguard for her to wear at night, and suggesting some simple jaw exercises she could perform at home to relieve muscle tension, Dr. Alaswad suggested Katrina follow up in the next few weeks to determine if her condition had improved.

At a three-week follow up, Katrina reported that her TMJ symptoms had significantly decreased since wearing the mouthguard. She and Dr. Alaswad discussed a long-term treatment plan to curb her teeth grinding and prevent the temporomandibular joints from causing her discomfort—and to protect her tooth enamel for a healthy smile.

After six months, Katrina reported that she wasn’t experiencing any clicking noises or ear tenderness even without wearing her nightly mouthguard. She visits Orangevale Dental for her regular dental checkups to ensure her teeth grinding habits haven’t returned and that her jaw is pain-free!