Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).
Your Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.
Symptoms of TMD include:
- Pain in the jaw area
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
- Swelling on the sides of the face
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
Should you notice any of these symptoms, let your doctor know.
There are a few simple steps you can take at home or work to prevent TMD from becoming more severe, or to prevent it from occurring:
- Relax your face, remember the rule: “Lips together, teeth apart”
- Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth
- Avoid constant gum chewing
- Chew softer foods evenly on both sides of your mouth
- Practice good posture
First Line Treatment – Try A Nightguard
If you often wake up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, you may have a common condition called bruxism.
Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth, as it often occurs when one is sleeping. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, damaged restorations, and TMD.
There is a non-invasive treatment for bruxism: nightguards. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding cause over time.
If you think you are clenching or grinding, a customized nightguard will provide comfort and may manage your symptoms.