Jaw discomfort can come and go, but when it becomes chronic, that’s when you should get in touch with a dentist. There’s a possibility that you may have developed temporomandibular joint disorder (or TMD). Not only is the pain from this condition unlikely to go away on its own, but there’s likely a pre-existing problem present that you may not have yet considered. To learn about potential TMD causes and how a dentist can help you manage and treat your symptoms, keep reading!
Trauma from Whiplash
If you recently got into a car accident, there’s a decent chance that you have also experienced whiplash as a result. Sudden collisions can make you “whip” your head in directions at great speed, causing immense pressure to the lower jaw muscles. This in turn applies pressure to the sides of the skull where the jaw is attached to the head, leading to injuries of the TMJ (or the joints that connect the jaw to the skull). Additionally, car accidents can lead to dislocation of the jaw, causing pain in the jaw joints.
Previous Jaw Fracture
Have you ever experienced a sporting injury, specifically a fracture in your jaw? The healing process following an injury this severe takes a long time to complete. In some instances, the jaw can become misaligned during the healing phase. If the jaw never heals properly, the misaligned bone can put disproportionate amounts of stress on the TMJ and the surrounding muscles.
Teeth Grinding and Jaw Clenching
Considered to be one of the most common causes of TMD, teeth grinding and clenching can be quite detrimental to both your oral and overall health. This habit, also known as bruxism, is characterized by consciously or unconsciously moving your teeth back and forth and biting down, usually due to an uneven bite or increased stress. Over time, bruxism can cause pain in your facial muscles, tissues, and jaw as well as damage to the cartilage lining of the TMJ.
It’s very important for the top and bottom teeth to come together evenly, as uneven distribution of your biting force is a common cause of TMJ-related discomfort. In order to compensate for poor misalignment, the jaw muscles have to work harder, particularly when chewing food. This constant tensing of the muscles can cause chronic pain as well as become a strong indicator for TMD.
You don’t have to deal with chronic jaw discomfort on your own, nor should you. A dentist can pinpoint the cause of your pain, create a personalized treatment plan that removes stress to your jaw joints, and monitor your progress over time to ensure your care is working as intended. Get in touch with a dentist in Rock Hill to get the process started!
About Coombs & Ross Family Dentistry of Rock Hill
Not only do Drs. Coombs and Ross have decades of combined experience working in the dental field, but they offer highly personalized therapy specifically designed to treating TMD and MPD (or myofascial pain), which occurs when muscles related to the TMJ become unbalanced or injured. To get help from dental experts committed to your long-term relief, you can get in touch with them through their website.