Disorders of the temporomandibular joint (jaw joints, just below your ears on either side of your face) can have multiple causes. A past dental or head trauma, bruxism (grinding of the teeth at night), and a misaligned bite can all be contributing factors. Stress can aggravate the condition, as well as poor posture and tension. Caffeine and alcohol can also trigger symptoms of TMJ pain in some individuals.
Minor discomfort can be alleviated with hot and cold packs, over the counter pain relievers, as well as gentle neck stretches and jaw exercises. Staying away from hard, crunchy foods and chewing gum is also a good idea. However, if the pain becomes chronic, it is a good idea to book an appointment with your family dentist to discuss treatment options. Left untreated, the pain can worsen, leading to headaches and poor sleep.
At Coast Dental Centre, we take into consideration your entire dental history when looking at treatment options for TMJ pain. If it is your first visit with us, we will begin with a thorough examination which will include xrays. We will ask you questions about your lifestyle as well, to get a better idea of what might be causing your jaw to hurt. It is also helpful if you could rate the pain on a scale of 110, and tell us what times the pain tends to flare up the most.
Many times TMJ pain is simply caused by clenching the jaw or grinding one’s teeth at night. In these cases, we may suggest a nightguard, a shield that you will wear over your teeth at night to lessen the pressure. This will serve to protect your teeth, as nocturnal grinding can cause excessive wear and tear to your teeth over time. Deep breathing and relaxation techniques can help you to relax your jaw during the day as well.
In some cases, the pain may be caused by a malocclusion, or bad bite. Orthodontic treatments may be necessary to correct the alignment of the teeth. If the patient has missing teeth or many others issues presenting themselves, a full mouth restoration may be necessary to bring all of the oral structures into harmony.
Their is no need to suffer unnecessarily with TMJ pain. When you come to Coast Dental Centre, you can be sure that you will be given quality care and attention to get to the root cause of your discomfort. We will work with you to create a treatment plan so that you can get on with your life pain free.