You wake up, and your jaw hurts – bad. What could be causing that horrible pain?
Maybe you’re eating with your family and someone asks who keeps making a clicking noise.
Have you ever had trouble opening or closing your jaw?
All of these symptoms point to a common cause: temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. This complicated condition affects the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, which is the point where your jaw meets your skull.
TMD is a progressive disorder that can be in the making for years until you finally notice something is wrong. Once it happens you might not know what to do about it, but we do: let our team at Overmeyer Family Dental help!
Why Does The TMJ Go Bad?
Like any joint, the TMJ is subject to problems like inflammation, rubbing, bad alignment, and whole bunch of other problems that can make it ache, malfunction, and even lock up. There are a number of conditions that we lump under “TMD,” because all of them have the same outcome: serious pain in your jaw.
TMJ pain can feel like a constant ache, muscle fatigue, severe headache, intense bursts of joint pain, pain in your teeth, and even pain down the side of your neck. That’s one of the reasons it can be so hard to diagnose – it can feel different to each person experiencing it!
Determining what’s causing your TMJ pain can involve a lot of digital imaging, scans, and tests, or in other cases it can be incredibly simple. It all depends on what’s going wrong!
Causes of TMJ pain include:
- whiplash injuries from a car accident or sports
- jaw fractures that heal improperly, causing misalignment of the joint
- chronic teeth grinding, clenching, or gnashing
- malocclusion, or a bad bite (overbite, underbite, crossbite, etc.)
- a slipped cartilage disk in the joint
- stress that causes you to clench your jaw or tighten muscles
When we test for TMD we’ll do a thorough examination of your teeth, ask you questions that might pinpoint past injuries, perform bite tests, visual inspections, and X-rays to help us get the complete picture. Once we know the cause we can start working together on a solution!
Treating TMJ Pain And TMD
Sometimes TMJ pain is acute and will pass with time. In those cases it’s best to take a pain reliever and relax your jaw, but for chronic sufferers the condition can be debilitating. The most common causes of TMD, grinding teeth and malocclusion, can both be addressed at our Orlando dentist office!
Bruxism, another word for grinding, gnashing, and clenching your teeth, is by far the most common cause of TMD, and it’s the easiest to address too. Many patients who suffer from bruxism don’t know they do because it often happens at night while you’re sleeping. Telltale signs of bruxism include premature tooth wear and loosening teeth, both which we can pick out pretty easily during an exam.
We treat bruxism and many other TMJ-related issues with custom made mouthguards. The soft mouthguards that we create are designed to put your teeth in a comfortable, neutral position that encourages muscle relaxation, removes stress on the joint, and prevents bruxism.
Our mouthguards are worn while you sleep, and for most patients they result in a nice, comfortable feeling when waking up in the morning. Imagine not having to ever deal with jaw pain in the morning – it could happen!
For patients suffering from bite problems we offer several different adult orthodontic options that can help slide your teeth into the proper position. Even the littlest changes can make a huge different for patients suffering from jaw pain due to malocclusion.
Think about the shape of your molars: they’re meant to fit together in a nice, comfortable manner. Sometimes your jaw has a different idea of what that is than your teeth do, resulting in a bite that is never quite comfortable. If we identify this as the cause of your pain we can have it corrected faster than you think!
Pain Relief Is Just A Visit Away
You don’t have to live in pain anymore – relieving your TMD can be as simple as making a single appointment at Overmeyer Family Dental. Don’t hesitate to contact us so we can help you feel better fast!