Jaw pain is not normal.
If jaw pain is part of your everyday life, it may be your personal equivalent of “normal.” The truth is, jaw pain is far from normal and may be a symptom from one or both of your temporomandibular joint(s) (TMJ), your lower jaw joint. When disease or misalignment occurs, the TMJ becomes inflamed — which is what causes pain. At Sheppard Village Dental, we are here to help you find the best solution for your TMJ and bring comfort and ease back to your smile.
How do we diagnose and treat TMD?
Understanding TMJ and TMD
Chronic jaw pain is the most common symptom of TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder,) but there are others that may seem completely unrelated to your jaw such as headaches and earaches, neck, shoulder, or back pain, or ringing of the ears or dizziness. TMD can be difficult to diagnose because many of these symptoms can be a result of other health concerns. It is important to check with your dentist if you’re experiencing any of the above so that we can guide you in the proper direction for both your oral and overall health. What can you expect?
Treatment of TMD begins with a comprehensive clinical examination, to check your face, jaw, bite, joints, and teeth. At Sheppard Village Dental, we will check for pain and tenderness and listen for clicking or popping when you open and close your mouth, swallow, or chew. If the disorder is diagnosed, a bite splint is usually recommended as the initial treatment.
Treatment and Relief
Our treatment application involves bite splints, which are custom-created plastic mouthpieces, designed to fit over your upper and/or lower teeth. These type of devices prevent the grinding and clenching that often causes or worsens TMD. The splint also realigns the jaw, removing stress on the surrounding area. At Sheppard Village Dental, we will recommend the ideal appliance therapy for your particular TMJ issue and work with you both in-office and provide out of office instructions to help you heal.
Alternative Treatment Options
If a misaligned bite or missing teeth are the cause of your symptoms, we may recommend orthodontics or restorative dental work. If your bite is placing undue pressure on the TMJ’s, we may suggest reshaping individual teeth to redistribute the bite force evenly.
Frequently Asked Questions
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joints. These are the two joints thatWhat connect your lower jaw to your skull. TMD, or Temporomandibular Disorder, happens when those joints are misaligned causing pain, and inflammation.
Signs or symptoms of TMD include pain and tenderness in or around the ear, the jaw joint, or the muscles of the jaw, face or temples. Other symptoms are problems opening or closing your mouth, and a clicking, popping, crunching or grinding noise when you chew, yawn or open your mouth. TMDs may be linked with neck pain and headaches. If you have any of these symptoms please see your doctor right away.
TMD is caused by a combination of factors like jaw injuries and joint disease, such as arthritis. It’s believed that bruxism (tooth clenching or grinding) and head or neck muscle tension may make TMD symptoms worse. Stress is also a possible factor. However, it is not clear if stress causes TMD or is a result. Other things that may lead to TMDs are partial or full dentures that are not the right fit and certain habits such as fingernail biting and pen or pencil biting. As you can see, there are an array of different causes which makes TMD hard to diagnose. The best way to understand your jaw pain symptoms are too book an appointment.
There are many possible causes of headaches. The best way to find out if TMD may be linked with neck pain and headaches is to book a consultation.
Most often, TMJ pain can be treated effectively with non-invasive treatments and therapies. In very rare circumstances, TMD may require surgery. Your health and happiness are both important to us. We will always present you with all of your options, work through the safest and easiest options first, and give you the final decision on what happens next.
If you do require surgery, we will work diligently to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible and have a quick recovery.
If you ever feel anxious or worried about any dental treatment or procedure let us know. There are solutions and we will work with you.