Talk To Our Dentists About TMJ Pain

It’s another cool morning. Winter is giving way to Spring, and you are fixing yourself a hot cup of coffee.

You decide to make yourself a quick breakfast, a bowl of cereal with toast and some jam.

You sip your coffee and take your first bite. Delicious … at first.

By the time you finish your breakfast, however, your jaw is sore. You feel a headache starting to come on, and you are having trouble closing your mouth all the way.

What is happening? Should you be worried?

Not if you call the dentists at Moss. You may have a TMJ problem, and we can help you just like we’ve helped so many of our patients in Fredericksburg, VA, Stafford, and everywhere in between.

What Is TMJ?

When most people talk about TMJ, they are often talking about TMJ disorders.

TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. To find this joint, place your fingers on your jaw near your ears. You should be able to feel it moving as you open and close your mouth. This is the joint that allows you to do that.

A TMJ disorder is a condition that affects this joint. How you are affected can include a number of problems, such as:

– Jaw pain while eating or after you eat

– Headaches, including migraines

– Earaches

– Swelling around your jaw

– Facial pain

– Neck pain

– Shoulder pain

– Limited jaw movement

– Inability to move your jaw

– Popping or clicking sounds when you move your jaw

You may experience one of these symptoms frequently or multiple symptoms at different times. If you have any concerns that you may have a TMJ problem, then you should give us a call as soon as you can.

What Causes TMJ problems?

You’ve already seen that TMJ disorders can create a variety of symptoms.

Well, TMJ can arise from several different causes as well. Here are some of the most common factors that contribute to TMJ issues:

  • Accidents — Any kind of injury to your face or head has the potential to damage your jaw or the tendons and muscles that connect to it.
  • Alignment problems — Misalignments can affect your bite. This may put added pressure on your jaw.
  • Arthritis — This is an inflammatory condition that can affect any joint in your body, including your jaw.
  • Bruxism — This is another way of saying clenching and grinding your teeth. Many people do this without realizing that it is happening.

Millions of people clench and grind their teeth while they are asleep. This makes it difficult to control since you aren’t awake to even be aware that it is happening.

Stress is a common reason that many people clench and grind their teeth together. This may be the reason for your nighttime habit. If you notice the symptoms of TMJ disorders in the morning, this may be why.

Or it could just be one way that you cope with stressful situations while you are awake. For example, you may clench your teeth and get on with work rather than letting your boss know how you really feel about his last-minute change to your assignment.

The next time your jaw starts to hurt, try to remember what happened just before you noticed the pain.

How Can You Fix Them?

In many cases, TMJ problems are temporary. You may be able to fix yours by making some changes, such as eating softer foods for a little while or finding ways to relax (like exercise or meditation).

You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever, apply heat to reduce pain and loosen up your jaw, or apply ice to reduce swelling.

If these don’t help or your problem keeps coming back, then you need to come see us.

Our team will examine your jaw for alignment problems, and we will look for signs of bruxism.

If you have an alignment problem, then orthodontics may be needed to correct your bite.

If you do grind your teeth, we can help by making a splint that you can wear at night. This is a kind of mouthguard.

It will prevent your top and bottom rows of teeth from touching one another (so no clenching or grinding), and it will change the position of your jaw when you are asleep. 

As you grow accustomed to this new resting position, your jaw will feel more relaxed. This will relieve the added pressure you’ve been putting on your TMJ.

Ending Your Pain

To take the first step toward ending your TMJ problem, contact the dentists at Moss in Fredericksburg, VA. Whether you live in Stafford, King George, or anywhere else in our area, we look forward to helping you.

Call (540) 369-4926 or fill out our online form to make your appointment.