Relief for Headaches and Jaw Pain
Approximately 35 million men and women suffer from temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD). Are you one of them? How can you tell? If you suffer from headaches, a popping jaw when you open or close your mouth, or pain in your jaw joints and muscles, you might have TMD. Without treatment, even opening and closing your mouth can become difficult. If you recognize these symptoms, rest easy knowing Dr. Hussong and our team at Cornerstone Dental offers treatment for TMJ symptoms.
What is TMJ Disorder?
Your jaw joints are called temporomandibular joints. They hold your jaw and skull together and allow your mouth to move. Age, injury, stress, habitual teeth grinding (bruxism), and improper bite (malocclusion), or heredity can cause misalignment of the TMJs. When this occurs, nerves and muscles become irritated and result in chronic migraines, earaches, jaw and face pain, low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, tingling extremities, and/or inability to fully open and close the mouth. While TMJ disorder can be a mild irritant to some, others experience more severe symptoms.
A Vicious Cycle
Bruxism (clenching and grinding teeth) wears down and damages back teeth. Over time, the tooth wear will alter the bite, or how upper and lower teeth fit together. When the bite is not balanced, jaw joints don’t sit properly. This causes over stimulation of jaw muscles and nerves. Now, here’s where the cycle comes into play. The over stimulated muscles and nerves cause grinding and clenching at night. So, while you sleep, your condition worsens. Because your jaw muscles work all night, clenching and grinding, your jaw is sore during the day. You may experience headaches and other painful symptoms. The key to pain relief is re-establishing a balanced bite and eliminating bruxism. Otherwise, the health and integrity of your smile will continue to degrade.
Diagnosis and Treatment of TMD
Dr. Hussong is trained in treating TMD. At your consultation, he can evaluate your jaw position, occlusion, and tooth wear to determine if your discomfort is actually caused by TMD. If it is, he will recommend a course of treatment to alleviate the problem and relieve your pain. Treatment usually involves balancing the bite with restorative dentistry, then wearing mouthpiece to readjusts the jaw alignment and protect your teeth from further wear while you sleep. In some cases, conservative dental treatment won’t correct TMD, and Dr. Hussong refers the patient to a specialist. If you would to talk to Dr. Hussong about our treatment options, then contact our office today.