If your jaw clicks, pops, or frequently aches, you may have a problem known as TMJ/TMD. This condition can cause moderate to severe pain in the jaw and requires professional treatment to protect the teeth from the damaging effects of wear and tear. Fortunately, our team is well-equipped to provide you with the relief you need to get past jaw pain with TMJ therapy in Jacksonville. Keep reading to learn more about this condition and how we can help you overcome jaw pain -- before it’s too late for your smile!
The TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, is the network of bones, nerves, and ligaments which help you to open, close, and move your jaw from side to side. When something is off with its alignment, the jaw may click, pop, or ache. You may experience mild to severe discomfort opening your mouth as a result -- or you may feel unable to move the jaw at all. This condition, known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, is commonly called TMJ.
The most common cause of TMJ pain is due to a misalignment of the jaw. This can occur due to an injury, like a blow to the face or whiplash. More frequent, however, is misaligned teeth. Dental occlusion (misalignment) can cause the jaw to have to have to make minor adjustments every time you open and close your mouth. Additionally, the misalignment can cause the jaw to over-activate, leading to nighttime clenching and teeth grinding (a.k.a. bruxism).
The long-term effects of TMJ can be serious if an effective treatment is not found. Many people experience migraines or chronic headaches related to the teeth grinding and clenching. Tingling extremities can occur as well. What’s more, the stress placed on the tooth enamel due to the nighttime teeth grinding can cause the teeth to become weak and worn. The risk of tooth loss is greater for people who suffer from teeth grinding. Additionally, sensitivity to heat and cold may increase as the tooth enamel wears away.
The appropriate treatment for TMJ depends on what is causing the problem to begin with. Patients who have misaligned teeth may benefit from orthodontic treatment through conventional braces or Invisalign. For others, an occlusal adjustment may be necessary. This treatment is used to strategically remove some tooth enamel to improve the alignment of the bite. No matter the recommended course of action, it is a good idea to wear a mouthguard at night while you sleep to protect the delicate tooth enamel from grinding and clenching.
Are you dealing with the painful effects of TMJ/TMD? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our office to find a diagnosis and treatment today!