Tooth Grinding Can Be A Real Pain
- February 25, 2016
You woke up with another headache this morning. That’s the third or fourth time in the past week. You know it’s happened about a dozen times each of the last few months.
You take some pain relievers, hoping that will help before your jump in the shower.
You fix a quick breakfast before you leave for work. After a few bites, you notice that your jaw is sore.
Then you look at the clock, you need to go. On the way, there’s a fender-bender in front of you. No one is hurt, but the cars are stopping traffic from moving. You have a presentation this morning, and if this doesn’t clear up soon, you are going to be late.
Is your headache coming back?
Hopefully, you won’t have a morning like this ever, but you may have experienced those various problems at different times. Your jaw pain and your headache may be the result of a TMJ disorder.
If you live in or near Plainville, CT, this can be treated by the dentist at Gentle Dental Care.
The Problem With Your Jaw
Your jaw problem may start in your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. If the problem is bad enough, you may have a TMJ disorder (or TMD).
The TMJ is the ball-and-socket joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. If you place your fingers near your ears, you can feel this joint moving as you open and close your mouth. This joint is important if you want to speak and if you like biting and chewing your food.
Several things can cause problems with your TMJ, such as:
- Arthritis — This condition causes inflammation and stiffness in your joints. It can affect any joint in your body, including your jaw.
- Alignment problems — Your joint may be misaligned because of problems with your bite. If you were in an accident, this too can cause your jaw to shift out of its normal position.
- Infections — You may have contracted an illness that could affect your TMJ or the surrounding muscles and tendons.
- Bruxism — In layman’s terms, this is clenching or grinding your teeth. Many people grind their teeth in their sleep, and lots of people clench their teeth as a way of coping with stressful situations. In many instances, people are not aware that this is happening.
Any of those factors or a combination of them could be contributing to your TMJ disorder and causing a variety of symptoms.
Symptoms Of TMJ Disorders
TMJ problems can affect you in a number of ways.
The symptoms can make it difficult to enjoy a meal. They can make it hard to have a conversation or to concentrate on work.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorders. You will probably recognize a few of them from our earlier examples or possibly from your own life.
► Pain in your jaw (while eating or after you finish eating)
► Jaw tenderness
► Facial pains
► Neck and shoulder pains
► Popping noises when you open or close your mouth
► Limited jaw mobility
► Inability to open or close your jaw
► Headaches (including migraines)
Many of these symptoms can have causes other than TMJ problems, but if you are experiencing more than one or one of them on a frequent basis, we encourage you to call us. We can examine your teeth and your jaw for evidence of problems.
Treating Your TMJ
Your dentist can be particularly helpful if bruxism is one of the causes of your TMJ problem.
We can create a mouthguard that will prevent you from grinding your teeth. By wearing this mouthguard at night or during the day, you will not be able to press your top and bottom teeth together.
The mouthguard also holds your jaw in a more relaxed position. As you get used to wearing it, your TMJ and the muscles and tendons around it will be less tense. That will ease the pressure that could be causing jaw, face, neck, and shoulder pains as well as earaches and your morning headaches.
Don’t Suffer Through Another Bad Morning
If the symptoms we described above sound familiar, then you need to find out if you have a TMJ disorder or a problem with bruxism. Make plans to visit our dentist office in Plainville as soon as you can. We can’t give you a treatment if we haven’t diagnosed your problem.
Call Gentle Dental Care at 860-479-2397 or use our online form to make an appointment today.