Jaw pain should not be a part of your everyday life and should not be considered normal. The truth is, jaw pain is far from normal and may be a symptom from one or both of your temporomandibular joint(s) (TMJ), which joins your upper and lower jaw, and shouldn’t cause pain. When disease or misalignment occurs, the TMJ becomes inflamed — which is what causes pain.
Chronic jaw pain is the most common symptom of TMD, but there are others that may seem completely unrelated to your jaw, such as:
TMD can be difficult to diagnose because many of these symptoms can be a result of other health concerns. It is important to check with your dentist if you’re experiencing any of the above.
It is important to keep on top of your therapy process as pain tends to worsen during times of increased stress.
Treatment of TMD begins with a comprehensive clinical examination, including x-rays, to check your face, jaw, bite, joints, and teeth. Dr. Miller will check for pain and tenderness and listen for clicking or popping when you open and close your mouth, swallow, or chew. If the disorder is diagnosed, a bite splint or mouth guard is usually recommended as the initial treatment.
Our treatment application involves bite splints, which are custom-created plastic mouthpieces, designed to fit over your upper and/or lower teeth. These type of devices prevent the grinding and clenching that often causes or worsens TMD. The splint also realigns the jaw, removing stress on the surrounding area. Dr. Miller will recommend the ideal appliance therapy for your particular TMJ issue.
After diagnosing the source of your jaw pain, we can offer several treatment options that will put an end to your discomfort. From cold laser therapy to loosen the jaw muscles, to orthotic devices to correct jaw misalignment, you’ll find relief that will bring the smile back to your face.
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joints. These are the two joints which connect your lower jaw to your skull. TMD, or Temporomandibular Disorder, happens when those joints are misaligned causing pain, and inflammation. It’s important to act quickly and seek help to begin the process of therapy.
Signs or symptoms of TMDs include pain and tenderness in or around the ear, the jaw joint, or the muscles of the jaw, face or temples. Other symptoms are problems opening or closing your mouth, and a clicking, popping, crunching or grinding noise when you chew, yawn or open your mouth. Most jaw joint noises associated with jaw dislocation. TMDs may be linked with neck pain and headaches. If you have any of these symptoms, please alert your dentist.
In most cases, TMDs is caused by a combination of factors like jaw injuries and joint disease, such as arthritis. It’s believed that bruxism (tooth clenching or grinding) and head or neck muscle tension may make TMDs symptoms worse. Stress is also a possible factor. However, it is not clear if stress causes TMDs or is a result. Other things that may lead to TMDs are partial or full dentures that are not the right fit and certain habits such as fingernail biting and pen or pencil biting. Poor sleep may lead to TMD.
There are many possible causes of headaches. TMDs may be linked with neck pain and headaches. If you are experiencing neck pain or headaches, tell your doctor.
In very rare circumstances, TMD may require surgery. If you are concerned, speak to your doctor to learn more.
After performing a comprehensive examination which may include a cone beam CAT Scan and other testing, your dentist may recommend a number of actions to relieve your TMD symptoms. These options include anything from minor treatments you can do at home, to a custom-made appliance which can be worn while you sleep. Another type of TMD appliance may need to be worn for a limited time during the day. At The Miller TMJ & Sleep Therapy Center, we are determined to find the best solution for you.