Do you wake up with jaw, neck, or shoulder pain? Are migraines or headaches a normal way of life? Chronic jaw pain doesn’t just cause an inconvenience; it affects how you feel throughout the rest of the day.
What To Do
If your jaw pain is becoming a normal way of life, then it’s time to take action. Your dentist is one of the best resources available when it comes to diagnosing and treating pain and disorders of the jaw. When visiting your dentist, you’ll have a panoramic x-ray taken that will capture an image of your TMJ and surrounding structures. Your dentist will also perform a clinical examination that assesses your jaw functioning, range of motion, and any popping or clicking inside of the joint.
Having a professionally made bite splint or night guard can prevent excess strain to the jaw and muscles around the joint. Only a short appointment is needed. An impression of the teeth will be taken, which your dentist will use to create your custom-made bruxism appliance. Your guard or splint will be ready for pickup in just a few days. On occasion, your dentist may prescribe muscle relaxants to alleviate initial discomfort during the beginning of your therapy.
Your custom-made splint can be worn during the day or even as you sleep. Although it’s removable, it will also stay in place when you need it most. The splints and guards are made of durable acrylic, allowing them to withstand much more force than any other type of over the counter guards on the market.
Professional guards and splints are:
- Custom fitted
- Comfortable to wear
- More durable than over the counter guards
- Keep the upper and lower jaws in the proper relationship during periods of rest
- Designed for either day, evening, or both
- Effective in preventing wear or damage to other teeth
Most jaw pain is due to stress and tension that radiates through the muscles around the TMJ. Damage and overuse of the joint can also create pain that is accompanied by popping or clicking when you open and close.
There are many different factors that can contribute to jaw pain. Common risks include:
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
- Tooth misalignment causing an abnormal bite
- Joint damage
A brief Q&A session with your dentist can help determine what is causing your jaw pain, better helping you know what areas to address.
Risks Of Not Treating
Overuse of the joint caused by clenching, grinding, or irregular functioning will gradually strain the internal joint structures as well as create symptoms such as the jaw pain that you may be experiencing. This can make it very troublesome to eat or even make it through the day without some type of pain management.
A side effect of jaw pain can also be abnormal or premature tooth wear. If pain or dysfunction causes you to chew on only one side of your mouth, those teeth and restorations can wear down before they should. It can also cause pain to radiate into the other side of your face.
Benefits Of Treating
Thankfully, treatments for jaw pain are typically best treated with affordable, non-invasive methods. A custom-made bite splint or guard prevents the jaw from becoming fully engaged to the point where the muscles are strained. In as short as one day of use, you can be benefitting from your professional treatment.
Surgical treatments like joint replacements are typically reserved as a last resort for joint pain. In the majority of patients, splints and guards are much more effective at alleviating symptoms. Surgeries such as joint replacements are found to be less than 50% effective for patients with chronic TMJ disorders and jaw pain.
Common home remedies to alleviate discomfort are also useful. Warm and cold compresses and the use of anti-inflammatory medications can reduce discomfort caused my muscle tension. Unfortunately these methods are used to manage pain, rather than prevent it.
Why let jaw pain keep giving you headaches day after day? A short appointment and removable splint are all that are needed to get you back on your feet day after day. Call today to find out when you can stop by for a jaw assessment and exam.