Is your jaw popping or clicking every time you yawn or take a big bite? You may need treatment for TMJ disorder, also known as TMD. In many cases, ignoring jaw joint symptoms can lead to more disruptive issues, such as difficulty opening and closing the mouth, tension headaches, ear pain, facial pain and more. Therefore, while your popping jaw may simply be an annoyance now, it can become painful and limiting if not treated properly. Our Marietta dentist can identify and treat your TMJ disorder so that you can avoid uncomfortable symptoms and protect your smile function.
Do You Have TMD?
TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, occurs when the jaw joint (and the surrounding muscles and nerves) become irritated or strained. Since the TMJ is responsible for opening and closing your mouth, patients will begin to suffer the consequences when this joint gets damaged or inflamed. The following are common symptoms of TMD:
- headaches and migraines
- ear pain
- soreness in the face, jaw, shoulders or neck
- popping or crackling sensation in the jaw
- jaw stiffness
TMD is a condition that can get progressively worse over time and impact your quality of life. Let a qualified TMJ dentist give you a proper diagnosis and treatment plan if you are suffering from these symptoms.
Is Bruxism the Culprit?
How does TMD develop? The most prevalent culprit of jaw joint problems is bruxism. When patients grind or clench their teeth, it can put tremendous pressure and stress on the jaw joint. If bruxism persists during nighttime sleep, the daytime often presents with some level of jaw pain, headaches and a popping jaw. While TMJ stress can also occur with poor dental alignment, facial injury or tooth loss, patients should consider teeth grinding as a primary suspect when determining the cause of their TMD.
Treating your Clicking Jaw with a Custom Nightguard
The good news is that while we can’t stop a subconscious habit during your sleep, we can protect your smile with a custom nightguard. This comfortable oral appliance fits like a mouthguard and repositions the jaw to ease pressure and prevent further symptoms. It can also serve as a barrier between the upper and lower sets of teeth to prevent premature tooth wear due to bruxism.
Don’t endure your popping or clicking jaw any longer. Call Gilreath Family Dentistry today to learn your TMD treatment options.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,