Too many patients put off seeking treatment for their jaw pain. While it may seem inconsequential, daily discomfort is never something that you should have to just “put up with.” Life is short – you should be able to enjoy every minute of it. Ongoing jaw tenderness and fatigue could be signs of a jaw joint disorder. If your jaw has been compromised, Summit Dental can help. We’ll work with you to determine the cause of your pain, and find the right treatment path for your needs.
What’s The Source of My Jaw Pain?
TMJ disorders can be complicated (and confusing) – determining the exact cause will require professional help. Dentists are uniquely well-acquainted with facial structure and musculature. Summit Dental’s team will be able to diagnose the problem and move forward with treatment.
TMJ disorders come into being when the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is damaged or aggravated. Determining exactly why the joint is unhappy means taking a look at your daily activities, habits, and recent injuries or accidents. One of the most common causes of jaw discomfort is an entirely different problem known as bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding and clenching. Most patients brux at night, without realizing what they’re doing. Doing so puts undue pressure on the jaw joints, leading to inflammation, exhaustion, and discomfort. If the bruxing continues, the jaw joint will succumb to a TMJ disorder, wherein the jaw joints are no longer functioning properly.
Physical damage can also be the culprit behind jaw pain. If you have suffered a blow to the jaw, some of the delicate components that make up the TMJ may not be functioning harmoniously. The cartilage that cushions the connection between the upper and lower jaws may also have a small hole, which leads to friction and discomfort.
Types of TMJ Treatment in Oakland
Determining the cause of your TMJ disorder will allow us to prescribe the appropriate treatment. The intensity of the jaw problem will also affect your treatment path. Common TMJ treatments include:
- Splints – TMJ splints are mouth guards that prevent the jaws from moving in harmful ways. They’re worn at night, when they can stabilize your lower jaw and prevent clenching or grinding. Preventing your jaw from engaging while you sleep will allow your TMJ to heal, and you to feel more comfortable upon waking. Splints are the most common treatment type for TMJ disorders, and have soothed countless patients.
- Massage and relaxation – A great deal of clenching and grinding is caused by stress. When you go to sleep anxious, you’re more likely to have active jaw muscles through the night. Gentle TMJ massage and relaxation techniques like meditation can help keep the jaw calm. Let us know if you’re interested in learning more about these methods.
- Orthodontic treatment – TMJ disorders can be caused by a malocclusion, or bad bite. When your jaws don’t interact in a healthy way for an extended period of time, they’re likely to suffer problems. In this case, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to realign the lower jaw and straighten teeth. An improved bite will lead to a healthier, happier TMJ.
- Surgery – In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to repair a damaged jaw joint. If this is the case, we will recommend a local surgeon to complete your treatment.
Finding the Right Fit for Your TMJ
If you’ve been in pain for some time, relief may seem hopeless. But there’s always a way to restore comfort. Don’t lose hope – learn more by getting in touch with Summit Dental.