Jaw pain (TMJ) and Teeth grinding
Do you notice popping, clicking, tenderness in the jaw joints? Or pain in the ear when you chew, talk, yawn or simply open and close your mouth? If so, you may have symptoms of TMJ (tempero-mandibular joint disorder or TMJ pain).
TMJ disorder is usually caused by a disharmony with your jaw muscles or bite not being balanced or relaxed. Often there is heavy teeth grinding or clenching of the teeth known as bruxism. Consequently, this causes overuse of the Jaw muscles. The teeth grinding or clenching is usually worse at night and the disorder can result in significant pain.
At Enhance Dental we thoroughly examine all the possible causes of your TMJ pain or disorder. We can then provide you with detailed information about your jaw pain. This ensures that you receive the appropriate measures to help treat your problem.
Symptoms of TMJ
TMJ is often associated with one or more of the following symptoms:
- Jaw Sounds (popping, grinding or grating sounds)
- Chewing difficulties or discomfort
- Difficulties opening or closing the mouth
- Headaches, migraine or neck aches
- Jaw pain or facial muscle pain
- Locked jaw or stiffness
- Ear problems (aches without infection, ringing (tinnitus) or clogged ears)
- Worn or chipped teeth
- Tooth or gum sensitivity
Causes of TMJ
There are several conditions that may cause TMJ disorders, the most common being listed below: (click for more information)
Diagnosis of TMJ
Since TMJ disorders have a wide range of symptoms and causes it requires thorough examination, investigation and diagnosis. Dental X-rays such as an OPG (orthopantomogram) or a CT scan can also help with diagnosis of jaw pain. Other methods such as digital scans and photograph can help monitor and develop treatment options for your condition.
Treatment of TMJ
Treatment usually involves conservative methods such as physical therapy, ice and heat therapy, relaxation techniques, anti-inflammatory tablets, muscle relaxant medications often in conjunction with a custom-fitted bite splint.
If you clench or grind, it is usually considered very beneficial to wear a custom-fitted bite splint while you sleep. Protecting the teeth and restorations with a professionally made bite splint is often regarded as one of the most important preventive dental methods available. Potentially thousands of dollars in future dental treatment could be saved.
Furthermore, as there are many causes of TMJ disorder other treatment methods may also be considered. Examples of these are: correction of bite abnormalities with orthodontics (e.g. braces or Invisalign), bite adjustment procedures or any necessary restorative dental procedures.