- April 25, 2016
You used to enjoy getting up in the morning, but lately, it’s just not the same.
You still fix a cup of coffee, but recently, you seem to need a few pain relievers to go with it. Your morning headaches are becoming more frequent and more intense.
You’ve tried going to bed earlier, but that hasn’t helped.
You’ve also noticed problems whenever you eat breakfast. If you have anything tougher than eggs, your jaw will start to hurt before you finish the meal.
It might be time to call Historic Triangle Dental Care. If you live in or near Williamsburg, VA, then you need a dentist who can help with what may be a TMJ disorder.
Understanding TMJ Problems
Our own Dr. Whyte understands the way a TMJ disorder or TMD can affect your life. He experienced this problem himself when he was younger.
A dentist helped him correct the problems with his jaw, and now, he wants to help people like you who may be going through a similar situation.
TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. You have two of these joints, one on each side of your mouth.
They are ball-and-socket joints that connect your mandible, which you may know better as your jawbone, to your skull. Your TMJ allow you to open and close your mouth, which comes in handy if you want to speak, sing, or eat.
The Symptoms Of TMJ Problems
When you start to experience TMJ issues, you may dismiss them as something that will pass. In some cases, there are things you can do at home, but in other cases, you may need professional help to resolve your problem.
Ask yourself if you have been experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Frequent headaches (including migraines)
- Lingering jaw pain or tenderness
- Jaw pain during a meal or after eating
- Facial pains
- Neck pain
- Shoulder and upper back pain
- Inability to open or close your mouth completely
- Sensation that your jaw is stuck
- Popping or clicking sounds when you move your jaw
While some of these symptoms can be attributed to issues besides TMJ disorders, if you are experiencing one or more of them frequently, we recommend talking to us to find out if we can help.
What Can Cause TMJ Disorders?
TMJ problems can arise for a variety of reasons.
An accident or injury can affect the alignment of your jaw. Arthritis can cause inflammation of your jaw joint, and infections can affect your joint or the muscles around it.
Another common contributing factor is bruxism, which is a term for clenching and grinding your teeth. Many people do this without realizing that it is happening.
This may be a response to stress in your life, and it’s something that many people do in their sleep. This could explain why you may be experiencing morning headaches more and more frequently.
What Can You Do About Your TMJ Problems?
You can start with a few simple steps at home.
If your problems are more noticeable when you eat, then you can try eating softer foods for a little while. The less pressure you need to bite and chew, the less pressure you will be putting on your TMJ.
If you know you’ve been under a lot of stress, learning some new ways to manage your stress may help. Exercise and meditation can help some people.
Applying heat or ice may be beneficial to improve mobility and reduce swelling in and around your jaw.
If those solutions don’t work, or if your problems repeat when you stop using these methods, that’s when you should give us a call.
As we mentioned earlier, Dr. Whyte understands what you are going through. He went through it himself, and he knows how much TMJ problems can affect your day-to-day life.
We will examine your jaw with X-rays and digital images. If your problems are related to teeth grinding, we can create a custom-fitted oral appliance for you to wear.
This appliance can be worn when you are awake or while you sleep. It will shift the resting position of your jaw to relieve the pressure you have been putting on your TMJ.
For many patients, this leads to long-term relief from their symptoms.
Don’t let a TMJ disorder take over your life. You can end your pain and our team at Historic Triangle Dental Care in Williamsburg, VA, can help.