A proper bite and jaw function requires your teeth, jaw muscles, and temporomandibular joint to work together. When working well, you can speak, chew, and bite without discomfort, clicking, or popping sounds. If any of the components fails to align with the jaw, bite problems can begin, which can lead to muscle pain within the jaw, neck, and shoulders.
This joint can malfunction due to trauma, overuse, inflammation, and many other causes. When it does, it can cause you a lot of pain and discomfort. At your dentist in Niagara Falls, ON, Dr. Gill is here to help. As a whole-health dental expert, she can identify, diagnose, and treat the root cause of the issue, and get you back to your normal day-to-day routine without pain and discomfort. Call today to schedule an appointment for TMJ treatment.
Dysfunction of the jaw leads to chronic pain in the temple area, neck and shoulders. This causes your muscles to tighten and spasm, which can trigger intense headaches and migraines. You can temporarily alleviate symptoms with over the counter drugs.
When your teeth and jaws don’t properly fit together, speech issues, trouble eating, and the wearing or breaking of teeth can begin to form. Our custom splints can bring your teeth and jaw back into proper alignment before we make any permanent changes to the bite.
When you’re dealing with the stresses of daily life, you may subconsciously grind and clench your jaw. This added force can not only cause significant wear and tear on your teeth, but can trigger jaw pain, headaches, and more.
TMJ is short for “temporomandibular joint." There are two joints, one on each side of your head, directly in front of your ears where the lower jaw connects to the skull bone. You can feel your joint by placing your index finger just in front of the ear and try opening and closing your mouth. When your TMJ is not moving correctly, it can cause further joint damage, muscle tension, and pain. These are known as temporomandibular disorders.
Headaches and migraines are an extremely common symptom associated with TMJ. These headaches are triggered when your muscles are constantly tense or strained due to issues in the bite. These misalignments can be caused either by an active breakdown of the joint or iatrogenic induced by a high bite from a dental filling or a crown. This strain and tension causes a headache that can manifest behind the eyes, in the cheeks, around the back of the head, on top of the head, on the temples, or above your ears.
In some cases, a seriously stressful situation can cause temporary TMJ pain that eventually subsides. For most TMJ cases, however, chronic issues will not get better becuase the root of the dysfunction has not been addressed. If pain is severe enough to cause you to miss work, lasts for more than a couple of weeks, or causes you to regularly take pain relievers, you should see your Niagara Falls dentist for treatment.
Lifestyle changes are often recommended. For example, reducing stress and wearing a customized bite stabilizing splint can help with teeth grinding. Or, eating soft foods and avoiding things like chewing gum can let your TMJ heal.
A customized splint is sometimes recommended, which repositions your jaw to relieve stress on the temporomandibular joint. This is a special type of orthotic bite stabilizing splint that helps your jaw relax and heal over time.
In some cases, drugs like corticosteroids or muscle relaxers may help with TMJ. Surgery is sometimes needed, but this is very rare, and is always a last resort if all other treatments have not worked.
Reduction in joint height is one of the ways that lead to reduced airway cavity. When the disk displaces, it reduces the joint height leading to lower jaw to recede. While asleep, the tongue relaxes and falls back, leading to the obstruction of the airway during sleep.
Of course, not everyone with TMJ has airway problems, and vice versa. But there is still an important connection there, and it’s one that Dr. Gill will look for during your consultation at your dentist in Niagara Falls.