Jaw pain is not normal.
If jaw pain is part of your everyday life, it may seem normal to you. The truth is, jaw pain is far from normal and may be a symptom of a condition called TMD from one or both of your TMJs. Those are the joints of your lower jaw, called TemporoMandibular Joints. When disease or misalignment occurs, the TMJ and surrounding area become inflamed — which is what causes pain and other symptoms.
How do we diagnose and treat TMJ Disorder?
Treatment of TMD begins with a comprehensive clinical examination, to check your face, jaw, bite, joints, and teeth. We will check for pain and tenderness and listen for clicking or popping when you open and close your mouth, swallow, or chew. If the disorder is diagnosed, a bite splint or night guard is often recommended as the initial treatment.
Treatment and Relief
Our treatment application involves bite splints, which are custom-created plastic mouthpieces, designed to fit over your upper and/or lower teeth. These type of devices prevent the grinding and clenching that often causes or worsens TMD. The splint also realigns the jaw, removing stress on the surrounding area.
Alternative Treatment Options
If a misaligned bite or missing teeth are the cause of your symptoms, we may recommend orthodontics or restorative dental work. If your bite is placing undue pressure on the TMJ’s, we may suggest reshaping individual teeth to redistribute the bite force evenly.
Frequently Asked Questions
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint. If this joint becomes misaligned or inflamed we refer to that as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMD for short.
Signs or symptoms of TMD include pain and tenderness in or around the ear, the jaw joint, or the muscles of the jaw, face or temples. Other symptoms are problems opening or closing your mouth, and a clicking, popping, crunching or grinding noise when you chew, yawn or open your mouth. TMDs may be linked with neck pain and headaches.
TMD is caused by a combination of factors like jaw injuries and joint disease, such as arthritis. It’s believed that bruxism (tooth clenching or grinding) and head or neck muscle tension may make TMD symptoms worse. Stress is also a possible factor. However, it is not clear if stress causes TMD or is a result. Other things that may lead to TMDs are partial or full dentures that are not the right fit and certain habits such as fingernail biting and pen or pencil biting. As you can see, there is an array of different causes that make TMD hard to diagnose. The best way to understand your jaw pain symptoms is to book an appointment.
There are many possible causes of headaches. No doctor will be able to determine the cause of your headache without a physical examination.
Most often, TMJ pain can be treated effectively with non-invasive treatments and therapies. In very rare circumstances, TMD may require surgery. Your health and happiness are both important to us. We will always present you with all of your options, work through the safest and easiest options first, and give you the final decision on what happens next.