The mechanisms for chewing and speaking are complicated in the human body. Certain issues with the jaws, ligaments and joints can cause pain. Our dentists are trained to diagnose different problems causing this pain, and get you on your way to feeling good again.
TMJ and TMD
Temporal-mandibular Disorder (TMD) is often referred to as TMJ disorder. This problem causes jaw pain and makes functioning of the jaw more difficult.
If you are experiencing pain in your chewing muscles, pain in the neck, jaw or face, stiffness in the same areas, or a jaw that locks, you should go see a dentist. You may also experience clicking, popping or a grating sensation, all of which can be painful. Headaches are another common symptom of these jaw problems.
The jaw muscle is generally the source of the pain and stiffness. Muscle spasms are often to blame for the symptoms. In some cases, the joint of the jaw is what is actually causing the problems.
Stress and anxiety can be contributing causes to TMJ problems. Nighttime teeth grinding can also be a contributing factor.
TMJ/TMD comes in a variety of severity levels. For some, the problems are merely an annoyance, while for others, the pain is serious and the functionality limiting.
The most common treatment for this problem is to stabilize the joint. Sometimes a plastic guard is fitted over the upper or lower teeth. Physical therapy is another route that can be taken. Therapy can help relax the muscles, with stretching other treatments.
A dentist may recommend replacing missing teeth, adjusting bite, filling gaps between teeth, or other dental remedies to fix jaw problems and resulting facial pain. Medication can also serve to remedy the symptoms.
Nonsurgical methods should always be tried first. In severe cases, oral surgeons are needed to fix the problems causing facial pain.