It may not have occurred to you to see your dentist about headaches or pain in your jaw, face, or neck, but you might want to consider it. Often these symptoms occur because of a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder or bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching).
The condition affects the jaw, jaw joints, and facial muscles that control the jaw; the symptoms can also spread to other nearby areas. People who have this disorder might have chronic headaches as well as pain in their neck and shoulders. Other common symptoms include dizziness, earaches, and ringing in the ears.
Millions of people in this country suffer from TMJ disorders. Because they can be so painful, they can seriously affect quality of life.
Talk to Dr. Tony Pilgrim at Fall Creek Dental if you have chronic headaches or other pain in the neck, ears, or shoulders. These could be related to a TMJ disorder or bruxism. He will conduct an evaluation and talk to you about treatment options that will make you comfortable and pain-free.
What Is the TMJ?
The TMJ connects the lower jaw to the skull and is what enables us to open and close our mouth. When the joint becomes inflamed, mobility is limited. Yawning, speaking, and chewing normally are impossible and often painful. Brushing and flossing can be a challenge because sufferers cannot open their mouth all the way.
What Is Bruxism?
The excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth is known as bruxism. Although bruxism is common among both sexes, women tend to suffer from the condition more than men.
Symptoms can be severe and include headaches, sensitivity, and worn down teeth. People have a tendency to clench and grind their teeth more often while they are sleeping, so they may be unaware they are even doing it.
What Are TMJ Disorders?
TMJ disorders can cause different issues with different patients. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Difficulty chewing
- Problems opening and closing the mouth
- Chronic headaches, migraines, or neck and shoulder pain
- Clicking noises at the TMJ when opening and closing the mouth
- Ringing in the ears
- Pain when speaking or yawning
- Worn or shortened teeth
- Uneven bite, or teeth that don’t come together when biting down
How Are TMJ Disorders Treated?
There are a number of ways we can treat TMJ disorders. It’s best to talk to Dr. Pilgrim about the symptoms you are experiencing and their severity.
If you are a teeth grinder, your dentist might recommend that you wear a mouth guard at night for your bruxism. This will protect your teeth from any further wear, and it may also alleviate your TMJ symptoms.
Call Us about TMJ Disorders
You do not have to go through life with painful TMJ disorder symptoms. Talk to Dr. Pilgrim to find out how he may be able to alleviate your discomfort.