Having a toothache is uniquely painful, but that’s something we can fix. Between tooth-colored fillings, root canal treatments, or extractions, we can get rid of what’s causing you that pain. However, dentistry is more than just teeth. It’s also about your jaw, and you can experience pain there as well. Your jaw can even be damaging your teeth without you knowing it.

Every jaw has a temporomandibular joint (TMJ), a muscle that connects the jaw to the skull. Whenever you open or close your mouth, you’re using that joint. When this joint starts to hurt, it can become a temporomandibular disorder (TMD) that can interfere with chewing, talking, or just opening your mouth.

TMD: Causes And Problems

There are several things that can cause TMD. Stress is often the likely culprit. When you are stressed, you can clench your TMJ without realizing it, putting a lot of extra stress on the joint. Injuries to the neck (like whiplash) or jaw can cause it, too. And since arthritis attacks your joints, it can lead to TMD. Then again, sometimes there are no clear causes.

Regardless of the cause, the results are usually the same. The main problem is pain and discomfort when you move the jaw, but you could also suffer from headaches and migraines, earaches, sinus problems, popping noises when you chew, or even having trouble opening or closing your mouth. In some cases, you could be experiencing pain in your neck, shoulders, or upper back.

Bruxism: Causes And Problems

Anxiety and stress can help cause TMD, but they can also help cause bruxism. This is when you grind or clench your teeth without realizing it, often during your sleep. However, bruxism can happen at any time of the day, especially when you are stressed out. Children often get bruxism but grow out of it. Adults are usually not so lucky.

Grinding or clenching your teeth this much puts added stress on your temporomandibular joint, which can cause a flare-up in your TMD. Worse, all of that grinding slowly erodes the enamel on your teeth, increasing your risk of tooth decay and weakening your teeth.

How We Can Help With TMD And Bruxism

At our office in Port Charlotte, FL, we offer several dental treatments to help with TMD and bruxism. One of the more common dental treatments is the splint, a device that you keep in your mouth to reposition your lower jaw. This allows the temporomandibular joint to relax more, giving it time to heal. A night guard (a mouthguard you wear at night) can also help with bruxism. There are other treatments that can help, such as enamel reshaping, dental crowns, and orthodontics. If you have a problem with TMD or bruxism, our dentists have the training necessary to go over the best options for you.

Pain in your jaw joint should not be ignored, as it could lead to more serious damage to your jaw and teeth. If your jaw hurts, or if you think you might be grinding your teeth, call us today at [phone] or use our online form.