If you experience pain or discomfort in your jaw, there’s a very good chance you have a problem with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). There are other symptoms that also signal a TMJ problem, and none of them will go away without an intervention from your dentist. At Ingleside Family Dental in Ladson, SC, we evaluate the health of your jaw, teeth, and gums to determine what’s really happening and administer the treatment you need to be pain free and enjoy a healthy smile.
Causes of TMJ Problems
The TMJ are small, triangular-shaped joints that connect the temporal bone and the lower jaw together. They are positioned in front of the ears and allow the mouth to open and close easily. Unfortunately, sometimes the TMJ does not do its job correctly, especially if the nerves and muscles around the jaw become inflamed or irritated. This can occur because of:
- Bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching)
- Stress in the jaw and mouth
- Jaw misalignment
Symptoms of a TMJ Problem
Sever jaw pain makes it very clear that you need TMJ therapy. There are other symptoms, though, that present as other health problems. You may even seek out your primary care physician to relieve your discomfort and end up with a misdiagnosis and the wrong treatment. How will you know it’s the wrong diagnosis? If your symptoms continue, it’s clear that there’s more to what’s going on and it has to do with your oral health.
There are a host of potential symptoms of a TMJ problem, including:
- Jaw pain
- Jaw tenderness
- Jaw pain
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty biting and chewing
- Jaw tension
- Popping or clicking sounds in the jaw
- Trouble opening or closing the mouth
- Hearing loss or tinnitus
- Neck or shoulder pain
Oral Health Complications from TMJ Issues
The problem with TMJ issues is not only that this disorder causes pain and discomfort, it’s presence can also be responsible for multiple dental problems, including:
- Cracked teeth
- Enamel erosion
- Gum recession
- Damaged dental work
- Broken teeth
It is possible for a person to destroy their own teeth because of undiagnosed TMJ problems. Your teeth are incredibly strong and when they exert pressure on each other without food in between, the damage can be intense. Abnormal TMJ movement can develop into extreme oral health complications and deterioration.
TMJ Therapy for TMJ Problems
The most effective, efficient, and quick-acting fix for a TMJ problem is to be fitted with a customized night guard. Also known as a mouthguard or bite guard, this appliance is fitted to the upper teeth and worn every night while you sleep to ward off unconscious movements and eliminate discomfort.
The night guard is a clear piece of thick, super-strong plastic that fits over your teeth to prevent them from rubbing against each other. When the guard is in place, the relief is immediate and stops bruxism and its side effects.
Besides a nightguard, some patients may benefit from treatment like Invisalign, which aligns the jaw and your entire smile, so your bite is positioned where it’s supposed to be. This prevents TMJ problems from taking over and causing pain.
Get TMJ Therapy from Your Ladson Dentist
Do you always have an aching jaw, wake up with headaches every morning, or feel your jaw popping and cracking every time you eat or speak? There’s a good chance that something isn’t right with your TMJ. Schedule a consultation with the team at Ingleside Family Dental and find out if TMJ is what you need to protect your oral health and eliminate pain and discomfort.