TMJ is the abbreviation for “temporomandibular joint,” the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull and is responsible for controlling jaw function. When you have a TMJ problem, there are many possible side effects, from a clicking jaw to debilitating headaches. Whatever the cause of your TMJ problem, you don’t have to live with this chronic pain. We will find the best solution for your migraines and jaw pain at Dentistry for Life so you can go about every day smiling and pain-free.
Causes of TMJ Disorder
If you have ever sat at your desk and suddenly realized you have incredible jaw pain, chances are good that you have been unconsciously clenching your teeth. Sometimes awareness is not enough to make this problem stop, however. TMJ disorder needs to be treated at its source.
Sometimes a TMJ disorder is situational and temporary and will go away on its own. A time of high stress, for example, can cause grinding and clenching of teeth which inflames the joints and causes pain. Some people can get past this discomfort and retrain their jaw to work properly.
More people, however, have chronic TMJ pain and the problem will become permanent unless they do something about it. Some causes of TMJ disorder include:
- Grinding your teeth at night (sleep bruxism).
- Excessive clenching of your teeth.
- Jaw misalignment.
- Cartilage recession.
The TMJ can be found in the place where your jawbone attaches to the skull. Should there be a jaw dysfunction, the muscles and nerves surrounding the jaw will become irritated. This leads to TMJ disorder, pain, and discomfort.
Side Effects of TMJ Disorder
When you have a TMJ problem, there are many potential side effects. Knowing them can make it clear whether TMJ is really your problem or not.
- Pain or difficulty opening or closing your mouth.
- Migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches, morning headaches.
- Sore teeth.
- Difficulty chewing.
- Chronic earaches.
- A popping or clicking sound when opening your mouth.
- Aching jaw.
- Gum recession.
- Sore teeth.
- Discomfort or soreness in the face, neck, or shoulders.
- Cracked tooth enamel or damaged dental work.
While you may feel like you can learn to live with the discomfort of your joint issues, it’s important to understand the significance of this disorder. Your teeth are incredibly strong. If they exert pressure on each other, this can lead to worn enamel, broken dental work, enamel erosion, and gum recession.
The effects of TMJ problems make you more susceptible to oral health complications like deep decay and infection which may require root canal therapy, tooth extraction, gum disease treatment, and restorations like dental implants or porcelain crowns.
Solutions for Grinding Your Teeth
Depending on the source of your jaw pain, there are several viable treatment options:
- Night guards: If you unconsciously grind your teeth while you sleep, a night guard can prevent the destruction that comes from teeth scraping against each other. This intervention can also stop headaches in their tracks. A full-coverage night guard is clicked into place on your upper teeth to protect them from your lower teeth. An NTI night guard prevents teeth from touching and triggers a nerve reflex to relax the muscle and stop clenching behavior.
- Invisalign: Jaw misalignment is a common cause of TMJ disorder. When you align your teeth and jaw, the pain is eliminated and, with it, all the negative side effects of teeth grinding. Patience will be necessary to complete this treatment but, once finished, you’ll never experience TMJ pain again.
- Botox: Delivering Botox directly to the source of the jaw pain can immediately minimize the discomfort caused by grinding or clenching your teeth. This injection is more than cosmetic, it’s a pain reliever.
Center City Dentist Who Fixes Teeth Grinding
You don’t have to live with mouth or jaw pain. If you are suffering from severe headaches or discomfort, if you want to stop grinding your teeth, visit our Center City dental office for help. Get a healthier mouth with help from Dr. Kimmie Patel or Dr. Kunal Parikh, Philadelphia general dentists.