When you have a headache, you likely don’t consider seeking the help of your dentist. While everyone suffers from the occasional headache, frequent, unexplained headaches– and particularly if they’re accompanied by jaw clicking and popping– might, in fact, be the result of a dental concern known as TMJ Disorder.
What is TMJ Disorder?
Your temporomandibular joint– more commonly referred to as TMJ– is the joint that connects your jaw to the temporal bone of your skull. If it sounds important, that’s because it is! Your temporomandibular joint is responsible for your ability to perform activities you likely take for granted, such as yawning, chewing, and even talking.
Often, people use TMJ and TMJ Disorder interchangeably. However, while TMJ refers only to the joint, TMJ Disorder refers to a variety of conditions that can adversely impact your temporomandibular joint. These conditions often result in uncomfortable symptoms, like the aforementioned headaches, jaw popping, and even earaches!
TMJ Disorder and Bruxism
There are a number of potential causes of TMJ Disorder, including arthritis, injury to the teeth, and misaligned jaws. However, one of the most common causes of TMJ Disorder is bruxism. Bruxism– or teeth clenching and grinding– is often related to anxiety and stress. Some patients that suffer from bruxism are not even aware that they clench and grind their teeth; that’s because they do their clenching and grinding while they are asleep at night. Regardless of when it occurs, chronic bruxism can lead to TMJ Disorders and their associated symptoms.
How can your dentist help?
If you think you might be suffering from a TMJ Disorder, it’s important to talk to your dentist about your concerns. In addition to reducing your stress level and ensuring you’re getting adequate sleep at night, your dentist might also suggest a custom night guard to help reduce the impact of bruxism. These night guards are custom made to fit your mouth’s shape, making them noticeably more comfortable than mouth guards that can be purchased over-the-counter at a drug store.
It’s time to stop suffering from those uncomfortable TMJ Disorder symptoms and take action! Contact us today to learn more.