Have you ever woken up in the morning with a headache, sore jaw, or pain in your teeth? It’s a pretty common occurrence that’s often caused by temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. The condition develops over time, and for many patients it isn’t even something they’ve thought about until the pain is intense.
There are plenty of patients who have come to our Cincinnati office complaining of toothaches, jaw pain, and other TMD symptoms who were convinced it was something else but ended up leaving with a TMD diagnosis. If you’re suffering from that kind of pain we know how bad it can be, and we want to help!
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder: What Is It?
The joint where your jawbone meets your skull is called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. There is a lot that can go wrong with your TMJ over time, especially if you have some bad habits that aggravate it. Not all causes of TMD are your fault, however, and many of them are completely subconscious.
- Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a very common cause of TMD. It often happens at night and includes clenching and gnashing as well. If it’s happening in your sleep you probably have no idea – all you see is the pain in the morning!
- Misaligned teeth can cause problems with your bite, and when your bite doesn’t sit right neither is your jaw. Continued misalignment over time can lead to problems in your TMJ, causing serious pain.
- Arthritis in the TMJ itself is sometimes due to the excess wear and tear of bruxism, but can also simply be due to age or a rheumatic condition.
- Stress can contribute to jaw clenching and other bruxing symptoms, leading to the development of TMD.
- Poor posture can actually cause problems with the position of your jaw, aggravating the joint and causing TMD-like symptoms.
Over time the TMJ will wear out or become stressed from any number of those symptoms, leading to jaw pain, tooth pain, pain in the TMJ itself, headaches, pain up the side of the face, muscle fatigue, lockjaw, and plenty of other painful symptoms.
Many people go a long time without treating TMD, especially when they don’t know they have it. For a lot of patients the problem seems to stop at migraines or chronic headaches. Repeated trips to the doctor don’t diagnose a problem and the search ends there – don’t forget to try your dentist too!
When you come in to see us for jaw pain there are a number of simple tests we can perform to determine if you have TMD. One of the easiest is to simply look at the wear on your teeth – if it’s excessive for your age there’s a good possibility you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep.
We also take a series of digital X-rays and other images that can show us any problems with the jaw joint, your teeth, your jaw alignment, and your bite. Those images allow us to identify any below-the-surface problems and make a diagnosis of TMD.
Treating Your Jaw Pain And Headaches
Even if you don’t have TMD and are simply grinding your teeth we like to proactively treat patients with nighttime mouthguards. These advanced, custom-made oral appliances are designed to cushion your jaw when you sleep so that you won’t have to worry about headaches, jaw pain, or the excess wear and tear on your joints and teeth.
Our nighttime mouthguards are designed to be super comfortable while also providing enough support to distribute the forces of grinding while keeping your jaw in a comfortable, natural position. There’s no cure for bruxism or TMD aside from preventing the action that causes the pain, and a custom nighttime mouthguard is the best way to help you sleep easy and wake up feeling pain free.
Don’t Let Jaw Pain Derail Your Life!
Whether it’s the pain, fatigue, frustration, or any other symptom of TMD or bruxism you don’t deserve to live like that. With a cure so close within reach it’s even worse to know you could be going without necessary treatment to eliminate your pain.
If you want to get back to sleeping through the night, feeling good in the morning, and going through the day without pain, discomfort, or fatigue all it takes is a call to Anderson Dental Care. We could have you feeling better in just a single appointment!
Call our Cincinnati office today at (513) 817-0834 or request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to helping you!