Teeth grinding is hard on your teeth (no surprise there), and it can lead to problems with your TMJ, too. This is not the kind of problem that you want to continue. It is a reason to make an appointment as soon as possible at Kirchner Dental, however.
If you live in or near Jeffersonville, IN, dentist Michael Kirchner, DDS, has the training, the knowledge, and the desire to help you solve this problem.
Understanding Your TMJ
First and foremost, TMJ is not a condition. It is a part of your body.
TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. You actually have two of them. They are located on each side of your face. They are the joints that connect your lower jaw (mandible) to your skull, and they allow you to open and close your mouth.
This joint is invaluable for eating, speaking, and singing among other things.
TMJ problems, including TMJ disorders, can affect one or both of these joints. This can be painful, and it can affect you in a number of ways, which we will explain in a moment.
Dr. Kirchner understands the role of your TMJ, but more importantly, he knows how to help with your TMJ treatment.
A Day With A TMJ Disorder
Imagine waking up with a headache again. This is the fourth time this week, and who knows how many times it’s been in the past month.
You take a couple ibuprofen or other pain reliever, brush your teeth, and hop in the shower hoping that your headaches will start to ease up by the time you towel off.
You decide to leave early and run through a drive-through on the way to work. When you get to the window, you think about getting a bagel, but you change your mind when you remember how much your jaw hurt the last time you ate one.
You settle on a coffee and a breakfast burrito. It’s not what you really want, but at least your jaw won’t be too sore before your staff meeting. You spend the morning going over your notes for the report you are supposed to present at the meeting.
The actual presentation takes about 20 minutes. You are prepared and you know your stuff, but toward the end of the meeting, you can tell you jaw is starting to hurt again because of the constant talking you had to do.
Your co-workers compliment you on the presentation, and a few of them say they are going to try the new fried chicken place for lunch. Normally, you would jump at the chance, but you politely decline.
With the soreness in your jaw, you can’t imagine biting into much less chewing a piece of chicken. Instead, you get some soup since you know it won’t involve any chewing.
And you take a couple more ibuprofen to get through the afternoon.
The Symptoms Of TMJ
Hopefully, you won’t have many days like the one described above, but it does help illustrate the symptoms of TMJ disorders.
Dr. Kirchner wants you to know the symptoms, so you will know when you should make an appointment. Here’s what to watch for:
- Frequent jaw pain, especially during or after eating
- Frequent headaches or earaches
- Facial soreness or tenderness
- Frequent neck, shoulder, or upper back pains
- Jaw mobility problems
Any of those issues can arise as a result of TMJ issues.
Contact us today if you are experiencing one or more of them regularly so we can help alleviate the symptoms and address the root causes.
Treating TMJ Disorders
Teeth grinding is one of the most common causes of TMJ issues. You may be doing this as a reaction to stress in your life. Many people grind their teeth in their sleep, which could explain why your TMJ symptoms occur so often in the morning.
Dr. Kirchner will examine your teeth for signs of grinding. If he sees it, then he can create a night guard for you to wear while you sleep. This will keep your teeth separated and “train” your jaw to rest in a more relaxed position.
This can prevent you from grinding your teeth and putting added pressure on your jaw joints.
Another factor may be the alignment of your teeth. A misalignment can be corrected with orthodontic treatments, such as Invisalign® or ClearCorrect, both of which we offer at Kirchner Dental.
Don’t put off your TMJ treatment for another day.