Do you wake up in the morning with pain in your jaws? Do you have popping or a feeling that your jaw is locked up? That has probably happened to most of us. However, if that pain continues and becomes chronic, it is very uncomfortable and not the result of laughing.
Pain in the jaws and headaches are both often signs of TMD (sometimes called TMJ), which is short for Temporomandibular Dysfunction. This can be a very serious and debilitating problem, with pain when chewing, or noises and pain when opening or closing your mouth, and the threat of headaches.
There are several issues that we have to look at when we see a patient who suffers from TMD. First, we have to look at how the jaws relate to each other to see if there is a discrepancy between where the teeth guide the jaws to close, and where the muscles or joints actually want to close. If the problem is related to jaw position, we have to carefully figure out a better position and then how to make a bite splint that will allow your jaw to rest in that pain-free position.
Second, we have to see whether you are grinding or clenching your teeth during the night. This can be enough to trigger a muscle spasm and jaw fatigue. Grinding and clenching aggravates the trigeminal nerve, a facial nerve that affects three areas: the eyes and forehead, upper jaw, and lower jaw. In reaction to stress, the trigeminal becomes overstimulated, causing migraines and other chronic discomfort.
Treatment for jaw pain can be as simple as adjusting one or two teeth or it may be as extensive as relaxing the muscles using a TENS or designing a splint to be worn over the teeth at night.
If you are having jaw pain, we need to see you and make a diagnosis so we can find a way to get you comfortable again. You don’t need to suffer any longer! Come see our TMJ treatment dentist today!