Ever wake up in the morning with pain in your jaw, facial muscles, and teeth? That could point to a specific kind of jaw pain. Do your facial muscles feel tired at the end of the day? That could indicate another problem. How about difficulty opening your mouth wide enough to eat? Just one more kind of jaw pain that could point to something different.
Your jaw joint, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ), is a simple mechanism, but still one that can have some seriously painful problems. If you’ve ever dealt with chronic jaw pain you know how miserable it can be – you never know when something is going to aggravate it and push you into misery!
At Really Smile Dentistry we’ve treated a lot of people for jaw pain, and we’re sure we have the solution for you too. It can be confusing and frustrating to deal with jaw pain, but thankfully the solutions to these various kinds of problems doesn’t have to be difficult!
What’s Causing Your Pain?
It’s easy to call all kinds of jaw pain TMJ pain, but that is nothing but an oversimplification. There are a number of different problems that all behave differently and cause different kinds of pain, which is why we need to distinguish between them.
Bruxism is just a fancy word for grinding, clenching, and gnashing your teeth. It’s a common cause of jaw pain, and being diagnosed with it is often a surprise for people because it isn’t always a conscious problem.
A lot of people who suffer from bruxism do it in their sleep, waking up in pain with no idea why. It’s easy to diagnose bruxism if you know where to look – specifically at wear patterns in the teeth and other signs of extreme pressure on teeth and bone.
For people who brux during the day it’s a bit different, and other possible reasons for the condition need to be considered. Bruxing can be a product of tic disorders like Tourette’s, or could be something as simple as stress. We can treat bruxism, but due to its complex causes it can be hard to completely eliminate.
A bad bite is known as malocclusion. If you have an underbite, overbite, or crossbite there’s a good possibility that you’ll end up with jaw pain as well. Teeth that don’t align properly still want to find a comfortable position to rest, and that position isn’t always one that’s comfortable for your jaw.
Over time you can end up dealing with severe pain due to constant stress on the TMJ, and it’s unlikely that the pain will ease unless something is done about your bite misalignment.
Problems With The TMJ
While conditions like bruxism and malocclusion account for most cases of TMJ pain there are still problems that can be directly tied to the joint itself. Arthritis and other inflammatory disorders can cause pain in the jaw joint, as can a slipped cartilage disc. While a slipped disc is often a result of bruxism or malocclusion it could also happen due to an injury or fracture of the jaw.
How We Treat Jaw Pain
In many cases you’ll go to a doctor or dentist for jaw pain and they’ll provide you with a mouthguard that cushions the jaw – and that’s it. At our Carmel office we don’t just treat your problem: we look for an actual solution.
We use a therapy method called neuromuscular dentistry that combines a close study of your teeth, jaw, and facial muscles with the use of oral appliances and other therapies. Our goal is to discover the natural position that your teeth and jaw should be in, and then to work on helping that position become your default one.
No More Painful Mornings, Starting Now!
Don’t wait another day to find relief for your jaw pain, especially when we could find the solution fast. You deserve to sleep soundly and wake up pain free in the morning, and we’ll work hard to make it happen!
Contact our Carmel dentist office today at 317-451-4050 or request a TMJ pain consultation by filling out our online form. We look forward to helping you!