How We Treat Chronic Jaw Pain
Do you have a stiff or painful jaw that always clicks whenever you move it? If so, there could be a problem with your TMJ, or temporomandibular joint. This joint is actually the small set of hinges that enables your jaw to move smoothly whenever you eat, speak, laugh, or yawn, and like other joints in the body, it can become strained or injured, leading to a TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. At Silver Creek Dentistry, we can both diagnose and treat this little known problem.
TMD Diagnosis & Treatment
TMD can be caused by a number of factors, the most common being stress, injury, and arthritis. It has a wide range of symptoms, including:
- A stiff or painful jaw
- A jaw that clicks or pops all the time
- A jaw that becomes locked opening or closing
- Bruxism (nighttime teeth grinding)
- Chronic migraine headaches
- Frequent earaches
- Head, neck, and shoulder pain
Some patients even experience back pain because of TMD! When you come to see us for TMD, we’ll first test the range of motion of your jaw. Then, we’ll look at your teeth to see if there is any wear due to teeth grinding. Once we determine the root cause of your pain, we can recommend a variety of treatments to provide relief. They could be as simple as performing regular stretching and relaxation exercises, or they may include more involved treatments such as an equilibration or occlusal splint.
When a patient has TMD, this can cause the teeth to come together unevenly, the result being that large amounts of pressure are placed on very small areas of enamel. This can damage the teeth and cause quite a bit of pain at the same time. To correct this, we can perform something called an equilibration/occlusal adjustment. For this, we’ll take an impression of your teeth to find your high-pressure spots, and then we’ll gently shape your teeth so that they come together smoothly and without discomfort.
An occlusal splint is a special kind of mouthpiece that is used to relieve TMD symptoms. A patient would only need to wear it to bed, and it works by slightly shifting the jaw into a more natural and relaxed position. This enables the muscles to heal and therefore recover from TMD-related pain. Over time, the muscles should learn to stay in this new position on their own, allowing a patient to stop wearing the splint. However, some may need to continually wear it in order to see consistent results.
If your jaw is a constant source of pain, we know how to help. You don’t have to live with chronic pain anymore! To schedule an appointment, please contact us today. Our practice is based in Ripon, and we’re always happy to serve patients from Ripon, Markesan, Green Lake, Princeton, Oshkosh, Berlin, Omro, Winneconne, Fond du Lac, Wautoma, Waupun, and all of the surrounding communities.