You May Be Hurting Your Teeth And Jaw Without Knowing It
When you’re experiencing pain in your mouth, it’s usually centered on one of your teeth. While the enamel has no nerves, the pulp inside your teeth does. Cavities and infections can cause toothaches, which means you need a filling, inlay or onlay, or root canal therapy to get rid of the pain. But sometimes, the pain is in your jaw, not your teeth. And other times, there’s no pain at all to tell you there’s something wrong. At our Highland Township, MI dental office, we are trained to handle all aspects of your dental health, not just your teeth. That’s why we can help when you are grinding your teeth, suffering from jaw pain, or even getting headaches related to those two problems. Visit Dr. James LoCascio to know how he can help you provide TMJ treatment Highland Township, MI area dental office of Highland Advanced Dental Care.
Bruxism Harms Teeth
Some people can grind and clench their teeth without knowing it. When you do this unconsciously, especially at night, it’s a disorder called bruxism. The only time your teeth should actually touch is when you swallow. When you are eating you chewing muscles have such good control that the teeth come close, but don’t actually hit. Most people will on occasion grind their teeth together, however doing so repeatedly during the day and/or night can not only increase the wear-and-tear on your teeth, but can break teeth and cause gum recession. A few days of this are no problem. Doing it over and over again, however, will start to wear down the enamel, putting you at a higher risk of cavities gum recession, and broken teeth. Plus, it puts extra stress on your jaw, which can lead to a condition called TMD.
Learn the Symptoms of TMJ/TMD
The joint that connects your jaw to your skull is called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. If you talk, chew, or just open your mouth, you use your TMJ. When this joint has a problem, it’s called a temporomandibular disorder, or TMD. (Because the two terms look similar, people often use TMJ and TMD to mean the same thing.) If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might have TMD:
- Jaw pain
- Stiffness in your jaw
- Popping or clicking noises when you open your mouth
- Neck pain
- Upper shoulder and back pain
- Swelling around your jaw
- Frequent headaches or migraines
If TMD gets very bad, you can even experience lockjaw. This is when you have trouble opening or closing your mouth.
Treat TMJ with a Splint
One treatment that can often help with both bruxism and TMD is wearing a bite splint. This is similar to a mouth guard and is worn over your teeth at night while you sleep. If you grind your teeth at night, the bite splint will protect your enamel and put less pressure on your jaw joint. And if you suffer from muscle and/or joint pain, the bite splint will allow your jaw to move freely, without the interferences in your bite which cause the problems associated with TMD. This takes pressure off of your TMJ, giving it time to relax and heal. Dr. James LoCascio can also advise you on how avoiding certain hard foods, practicing muscle relaxation, and using over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can help in the short term.
If you have pain in your jaw, there’s a very good chance you have TMD. And if you notice that you’re grinding your teeth a lot, you probably have bruxism. We can treat both with a nightguard. Call us at 248-329-3552 to schedule your TMJ treatment Highland Township, MI area appointment, or use our convenient online form.