Do you wake up with sensitive teeth or headaches? Do your face and neck muscles frequently feel tense and sore? You might have a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder. Painful jaw joints and headaches can mean malfunction of the jaw joints, often called TMJ or TMD.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction presents differently from person to person and can include a few or many of the following symptoms:
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Painful jaw and facial muscles
- Shoulder and neck pain
- Teeth sensitivity
- Clicking, popping or locking joints
- Difficulty chewing
- Teeth grinding
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Worn bite
Patients with TMD often feel tired even though they have achieved a full night of sleep, and chronic pain causes additional fatigue, disrupting the enjoyment of life.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
Sometimes the cause of jaw joint dysfunction develops because of trauma, such as an auto or sporting accident. Other times, the cause is less clear but can include:
- Misaligned teeth
- Malocclusion (a bad bite)
- Bruxism (chronic clenching and grinding of the teeth)
- Sleep apnoea
- Certain medications
In many other cases, a definite cause remains elusive, but often has a more significant impact on people with high-stress lives. Alcohol and tobacco use can also cause nocturnal teeth grinding, further exacerbating painful symptoms.
At our North Tamworth dental clinic, Dr Daniel Raditaolana and Dr Naledi Mosarwa treat jaw pain and headaches using a comprehensive approach designed to relieve symptoms, improve comfort and restore the ability to eat comfortably.
Treatment for Jaw Pain and Headaches
In addition to changes in lifestyle that include stress management, a healthy diet, reducing caffeine and alcohol and a medical review, we often approach TMD with a non-invasive approach using an occlusal splint – an advanced version of a nightguard.
Made of acrylic, the surface of the nightguard can be adjusted to assist the jaw in relaxing when the teeth come together. Use of a nightguard can reduce headaches, neck pain and teeth sensitivity.
Additionally, having a TMJ splint creates a barrier between the upper and lower teeth. This barrier protects the upper and lower teeth from damaging each other when teeth grinding occurs.
For patients who have significantly misaligned teeth, orthodontics often provide a solution. In addition to relieving a painful bite, having properly aligned teeth reduces wear and damage caused by uneven force. For adults who wish to avoid the appearance and lifestyle changes that come with traditional braces, we offer Invisalign clear braces as a convenient alternative.
Don’t Live with Headaches and Jaw Pain
Contact Oasis Smiles Dental to arrange an appointment and to get the relief you need from TMD, bruxism and pain in the face and neck muscles. Our gentle and compassionate team can help improve your comfort, sleep and quality of life.