Do you wake up with jaw pain in the morning? Are you a chronic clencher and teeth grinder? Have you ever found it difficult to open or close your mouth due to “lockjaw?” If so you might be suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD.
The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the one that connects your jaw to your skull, and there are surprising number of things that can go wrong with it. We treat a lot of people with TMD at Edgewood Dental Care, and all of them have found relief from the pain, discomfort, and long term damage caused by TMD.
What Causes TMD?
There are a number of reasons that patients develop TMJ pain both chronic and short-term. Many cases are due to arthritis, a poorly aligned bite, and other problems that are caused by the makeup of your jaw. Others are caused by accidents, injury, and teeth grinding. While these causes are common there are a lot of ways to end up with serious jaw pain that most people don’t realize!
Martial Arts: Ain’t That A Kick In The Head?
Studies have shown that people who practice any kind of martial art that involves potential blows to the face are seriously at risk for TMD. The constant impact of boxing gloves, arms, and fists can seriously dislodge your jaw – just look at a slow-motion punch! Over time that constant force can cause serious damage to the joint and the cartilage that cushions it.
We always encourage martial artists, or any other athletes, to wear a custom mouthguard made at our Edgewood dentist office. While it might not completely eliminate the chances of injury due to a solid right hook it will definitely help! Other sports can find the risk of oral injury almost completely eliminated by mouthguard use.
Automobile Accidents: More Than Just One Surprise
Athletic injuries might be a cumulative way to end up with TMD but there are single injuries that can cause serious harm as well. Whiplash, a common injury in automobile accidents, can cause TMD as well. It’s most common to end up with TMD due to being the victim of a rear-end collision.
Because your head is thrown backwards faster than your muscles can relax it often ends up moving faster than your jaw. Once it stops your jaw can have some residual energy in it that causes a hard impact into your skull. It might not seem like much distance but you’d be surprised what can happen at such high speeds!
Stress: Just One More Thing To Worry About
We’re not just writing this because of all that holiday stress you’re probably experiencing, although talking about stress injuries is very timely for holiday season! People who don’t normally grind their teeth can sometimes find themselves chronically clenched during the holidays. That constant stress on your jaw can be seriously harmful.
Even an acute episode of teeth grinding and clenching can cause TMJ pain that just won’t go away. It’s important to be aware of your stress levels at this time of year so that you don’t overdo it. If you know you’re the kind of person who deals with a lot of stress we have some advice: keep an eye on yourself, and don’t forget to look out for your own sanity above all else!
Previous Injuries: It Healed Correctly, Right?
If you’ve ever had a serious jaw injury that resulted in fracture or damage to the bone you are at a greatly increased risk for TMD. Healing the jaw can be difficult, and even harder to do so perfectly! Any changes to the way your jaw fits into its joints can cause uneven force, wear on the cartilage, and stress that causes serious pain.
If you’ve had a previous jaw injury be sure to tell us at Edgewood Dental Care. We’d like to help you proactively prevent the pain and damage that could be in your future. We can do so with a custom mouthguard designed to cushion and protect your teeth day and night.
Address Pain Now
Prompt treatment of TMJ pain can prevent the deterioration of the joint, discomfort, and poor sleep that patients usually suffer. If you’re worried about pain in your jaw call Edgewood Dental Care today so we can treat you quickly!