Do You Wake up with a Painful Jaw? Ask Us for Help and Advice
Did you find yourself waking up yet again with a sore and aching jaw this morning? Perhaps it is difficult to open and close your mouth comfortably or you noticed that your jaw joints have begun to make a clicking or popping sound. If this sounds familiar, you may have temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ for short. It is a potentially painful condition that as well as affecting the jaw joints, can lead to pain radiating out down towards your neck and shoulders, or for some people it can cause chronic headaches.
What Causes TMJ?
TMJ is often associated with clenching and grinding, a condition called bruxism. This habit is usually nocturnal and is subconscious so you may be completely unaware that you clench or grind your teeth during sleep. Bruxism is a potentially destructive condition that can wear down your tooth enamel, leading to your teeth becoming chipped and cracked, eventually damaging your gums and even leading to tooth loss. The pressure caused by clenching and grinding places your jaw joints under considerable stress, potentially leading to the development of TMJ.
Diagnosing and Treating TMJ
If you have noticed your teeth look a bit shorter than before or are chipped, or that you have tooth sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods then it’s worth giving our Basildon dentist a call to book an appointment. It’s well worth doing this before bruxism can cause any further damage as often during the early stages it is quite easy to treat. By carefully examining your teeth, gums and gently feeling your jaw joints, our dentist can assess whether or not you have this problem. We may also need to take x-rays to assess any damage.
We can also look at what’s causing your bruxism as sometimes it can be due to teeth being out of alignment and it could be that correcting your bite through restorative dentistry or through orthodontics could help treat and prevent this condition. If you have any ill-fitting dental appliances then these may need adjusting or replacing so that your teeth can bite together correctly. However, often bruxism can be due to stress and an easy and very straightforward way to treat it is to provide you with a custom-made night splint. To do this, our dentist in Basildon will take an accurate impression of your teeth that is used to fabricate a hard plastic night splint that will fit over your upper teeth so they cannot come into contact with your lower teeth. It might take a little while to get used to wearing this appliance as like any new dental restoration it may initially feel a bit strange. It is worth persevering, particularly as some people may only need to wear their night splint for a short while to break this habit. If you think your TMJ and bruxism is due to stress, it can be helpful to try to take action to lower your stress levels.
The most important thing to do is to take action if you do have jaw problems or facial pain. Please contact Felmores Dental Care to book your appointment with our Basildon dentist so you can get a proper diagnosis. Call us on 01268 726789.