Some sufferers of TMJ disorders (or TMD) are completely unaware of their condition because they have become accustomed to being in pain. It had long been thought that jaw pain is a direct result of stress and clenching your teeth, or bruxism. In some aspects this is correct, but there are now many known factors that can lead to jaw joint problems. Treatments for TMJ disorders are highly dependent on the cause and severity of your pain.
Because these disorders are directly related to the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) on both sides of your face, many of the problems occur in and around your mouth and facial area. Swelling may be present, accompanied by soreness of your face or jaw. You may experience clicking, popping, or locking of your jaw, as well as headaches, shoulder or neck pain, and earaches or ringing in your ears (tinnitus).
It is not completely understood what causes TMJ disorders; however, there are several factors that can lead to discomfort around your temporomandibular joints. Bruxism, or grinding and clenching your teeth, may be the most commonly associated complication because it directly impacts your jaw health by creating pain and tension in your facial muscles. Malocclusion, or crooked teeth, can place you at risk of discomfort because it causes misalignment of your jaw, which can affect muscles, nerves, and blood vessels in the surrounding area. Occasionally, an injury, like whiplash or blunt force trauma, can lead to similar complications associated with your face and jaw.
The cause of your pain must first be determined to prescribe an appropriate treatment. When treating bruxism, a cushioned mouth guard may be worn at night to reduce movement of your jaw and create a separation between your upper and lower teeth, allowing your TMJ to rest properly and reduce discomfort. In some cases, dental work may be needed to correct malocclusion, and balance your bite to relieve pain associated with TMJ disorders. Traditional metal braces, as well as Invisalign aligners, are extremely effective in repositioning your teeth and creating a comfortable, stable bite. In rare cases, surgical corrections are necessary to repair deformed oral anatomy that may be causing discomfort.
ABOUT YOUR FUQUAY VARINA DENTIST:
For over 15 years, Dr. Michelle Collier and the talented professionals at Waterstone Family Dentistry have provided comfortable, compassionate dental care to patients of all ages from Fuquay Varina, NC, as well as Holly Springs, Angier, Willow Springs, Raleigh, and all surrounding communities. If you’d like to learn more, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Collier by calling (919) 557-5250 today.