What is TMD and How Could It Affect Your Dental Health?
Ideally, your jaws should meet together quite nicely, where all your teeth are in the correct positions. If some of your teeth are out of position or if your jaws are out of alignment then this can create what is known as a bad bite. The problem with having a bad bite is that it can cause additional stress on your jaw joints which are called your temporomandibular joints, creating temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD or TMJ for short. Your temporomandibular joints are the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull and which help it move up and down and from side to side. If these joints cannot function correctly then this can create a huge variety of symptoms, so what are some of the signs that you may have TMD? Common symptoms can include:
- Waking up with a dull headache
- Waking up with an aching jaw
- Noticing your face feels tender or painful and this pain can reach the neck and shoulders
- Your jaw might make a clicking or popping sound when you try to open or shut it and this can hurt
- It might feel as if your teeth are not fitting together correctly, as if your bite has somehow changed
- The area around your jaw joints may feel swollen
- Your teeth may ache or they can feel more sensitive than before
- You have earache or tinnitus
If any of these symptoms sound familiar then please make an appointment to see a dentist in Watton. Prompt treatment can minimise the damage to your teeth and to your jaw joints. But what can cause TMD?
TMD and the Link to Teeth Grinding and Clenching
TMD is often linked to a condition called bruxism, where a patient will clench or grind their teeth. This habit usually occurs during sleep so you may be completely unaware you are doing it until you begin to develop symptoms. Bruxism can be quite noisy, so it is possible that a sleeping partner may complain about the row you make while asleep. This condition creates a lot of stress on the jaw joints and can cause them to become inflamed and sore. It is also very damaging for teeth as it can chip or break them or even wear them down completely unless bruxism is caught and treated in good time. Our dentist in Watton can take a look at your teeth and jaw joints and will soon make a diagnosis.
Treating TMD and Bruxism
The simplest and often most effective way to treat these conditions is to make a custom made splint or nightguard. This is usually made from a hard plastic material and fits over the upper teeth, ensuring they cannot come into contact with the lower teeth. If your teeth are significantly misaligned then you might benefit from orthodontics in Watton as realigning them can help reduce the stress on your jaw joints. If the problem is more severe, Clarence House Dental Care may need to refer you to an oral surgeon. This is why we urge anyone with jaw problems to seek prompt treatment.
If your jaw ached when you woke up this morning, why not give us a call on 01953 882777 to book a consultation with our dentist in Watton.