As a TMJ dentist in Huntington Beach, we regularly treat patients that have persistent headaches. Persistent headaches are a common symptom of TMJ, especially if one notices them in the mornings. To understand how the jaw can impact whether or not one suffers from headaches, consider how the temporomandibular joint secures the mouth and jaw to the head. When an individual places stress or tension on the jaw, it negatively impacts the joint and can cause a headache as a result. The concept is fairly simple, but most people are unfamiliar with the connection and do not think about TMJ when they wake up with a regular headache. We, however, think about it and can also treat it.
What can a TMJ dentist do for me?
We can start by examining one’s teeth to determine whether or not the individual is likely grinding or clenching your teeth in your sleep. If the individual is clenching his or her teeth, then we will be able to notice the signs. For example, the individual will experience intense force and pain when biting down. Simultaneously, the enamel will show signs of erosion if the individual is grinding his or her teeth. In other cases, the teeth may develop strange ridges or look worn down in general. These are all indicators that one is grinding his or her teeth and will benefit from wearing a night guard.
Another symptom people need to be aware of is a soreness in the jaw that makes it difficult to open the mouth all of the ways. Other people suffer from face, neck and jaw pain or tenderness. The symptoms may manifest when one wakes up in the morning or only upon chewing something. In these cases, we will want to examine the patient and, even if we do not see signs of wear on the teeth, the patient may benefit from wearing a night guard.
Benefits of early treatment
There are several benefits to treating the condition early. Most importantly, it will prevent the incredible discomfort that can come from the jaw not opening. If this happens it can be alarming, to say the least. However, this is a common symptom of TMJ. When one treats the condition, he or she is preventing it from getting to this point.
Simultaneously, it is important to protect cosmetic dental work or restorations. If an individual is grinding his or her teeth at night, the individual is putting any cosmetic work in jeopardy. Dental veneers, for example, could pop off if the individual grinds his or her teeth, requiring the individual to replace them at an additional cost. A night guard can prevent these issues and prevent other health risks.
As a TMJ dentist do you recommend surgery?
No, as a TMJ dentist, we suggest that you try this non-invasive solution first. This is an easy way to treat the condition because wearing a night guard will prevent your upper and lower teeth from touching. This will effectively eliminate the grinding and clenching along with the headaches, jaw pain and other symptoms associated with it. Only in rare cases is surgery recommended.
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