Jaw pain is a miserable thing. It can prevent you eating the foods you enjoy, interrupt your sleep and cause a toothache, earache, neck aches, headaches and ringing in your ears. Luckily the dentist can help.
If it hurts when you chew, the pain makes it difficult for you to open your mouth, you feel as if your jaw keeps getting stuck and you’re plagued by unexplained headaches, shoulder pain and ear pain, you might have a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Another symptom of TMD is hearing a clicking sound in your jaw. This is painful in some people and can trigger a severe headache.
Causes of TMD
TMD can be caused by arthritic temporomandibular joints trauma including whiplash, clenching your teeth, and prolonged stress and problems with the muscles in your jaw.
What Your Dentist Can Do
As the pain can be severe, it can stop you from chewing and might cause headaches bad enough to keep you off work, you should see a dentist.
Dentists can treat TMD in several ways:
Braces, Bridges and Crowns: If your TMD is caused by a misaligned bite, it can be treated with braces or by replacing missing teeth with crowns or bridges to correct the alignment.
Mouth Splints: If you grind your teeth, you can be fitted with a splint or a night guard to prevent you from doing this.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): Small electrical currents are used on the facial muscles to close down the “pain gate” and relax the joint in the jaw.
Anesthetic Injections: Local anesthetic can be injected into facial muscles to provide relief from pain. While numbed, exercises can be done to loosen the tense muscles and improve range of motion.
Oral Surgery – An oral surgeon can operate in cases where the TMD is the result of a structural problem, for example, a degenerative disease. This is only done in extreme cases where other measures haven’t helped because it can rarely make the pain worse. Surgery can be done via a “keyhole” technique (arthroscopy) or by open joint surgery.
To speak to South Bend Family Dentistry about your TMD, just call or visit the website. As well as a TMJ therapy center, they also provide help for periodontal disease, restorations, dental emergencies and cosmetic dentistry.