Jaw pain is something you should never ignore. If you have jaw popping or clicking, tension headaches (especially in the morning), facial pain or damaged/worn teeth, you may have a condition called TMD, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. There are three structural parts to TMD: the joint between your lower jaw and upper skull, your teeth or bite, and your jaw muscles. When any of these components are compromised, patients can experience symptoms and should be evaluated for TMD.
Why Am I Suffering?
Although it is possible that your jaw symptoms may resolve on their own, there is probably an underlying problem or habit that needs to be addressed. Many patients trigger or aggravate TMJ problems when they grind their teeth, chew gum or bite their nails. Nighttime teeth grinding can be an inherited habit or due to a medication you are taking or response to stress. Teeth grinding puts far more strain on your jaw and your teeth than they were designed for. In general, your teeth should only come into direct contact when you swallow, which is only about 17 to 20 minutes a day!
How Is It Treated?
There are many options in TMD therapy and a dentist trained in TMJ problems can recommend the best one for you. Treatment options range from splint therapy and short-term muscle relaxers to Botox® injections and physical therapy. If conservative management therapies fail, surgery may be necessary.
If you are experiencing symptoms of TMD, we want to see you at Red Oak Family Dentistry. In the meantime, try to find ways to relieve stress or tension and avoid chewing gum to relieve the discomfort of TMD.