Jaw Pain and Headaches May Indicate TMJ Disorder

Everyone experiences jaw soreness from time to time, especially if you chew gum or enjoy chewy foods frequently. However, when jaw pain becomes a constant source of worry, you should visit a dentist to see if your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) function is behind the problem.

TMJ disorder is a common condition and it may cause a number of symptoms besides jaw pain. For example, many people don’t realize that TMJ issues can cause pain in the temples, initiate migraines, and radiate pain down into the neck. If you experience regular “mysterious headaches” in conjunction with jaw pain, you may have TMJ disorder.

Do you need Knoxville jaw pain treatment? Dr. Jack Haney provides TMJ diagnosis and treatment in his family dental practice. Call us today at 865-693-6886 or request an appointment online.

There are many interconnected muscles, tendons, and bones involved in the opening and closing of the jaw. If one of those moving parts is not functioning optimally, it can lead to joint dysfunction and painful side effects. Considering how many times we need to open and close our mouth each day to speak and eat (a lot!), it’s always to your benefit to root out the cause of your jaw pain. What can cause this problem?

There are several potential causes of TMJ disorder:

  • Improper bite alignment
  • Missing teeth
  • An injury to the jaw
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Degenerative arthritis

Stress is also a contributing factor, as many patients report that their symptoms often get worse when they are under greater emotional and physical stress.

Symptoms to Watch Out For

Beyond acute jaw pain, TMJ sufferers may experience the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Facial pain or soreness
  • Teeth sensitivity
  • Jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • A popping or clicking sound in the jaw
  • Difficulty opening the mouth all the way
  • A feeling of shifting when you open/close the jaw
  • Feeling like you can only chew on one side of the mouth

Since TMJ disorder can manifest differently depending on unique factors, you may only experience one or two symptoms. This does not mean, however, that there isn’t a potential cure for your unique issues!

How a Dentist Can Help

Today, dentists have many tools for treating TMJ disorder. When Dr. Haney assesses your case, he may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Splint therapy: to hold the jaw in a more balanced position
  • Jaw relaxation techniques
  • Prosthodontics: prosthetics to replace missing teeth
  • Orthodontics
  • BOTOX injections
  • TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) therapy

For some patients, the worst symptom of TMJ disorder is facial pain caused by overtaxed muscles. In those cases, TENS or BOTOX therapy may help relieve your symptoms and train the muscles to relax. For others, treatment may be based on re-positioning the jaw and cushioning the teeth, so they sit in a more balanced position and can’t grind together when you sleep at night. If your bite is badly misaligned, orthodontics may be recommended. When you visit our dental office, we will take x-rays, listen to your symptoms, and find the source and solution for your painful condition.

If you think your jaw joints may not be functioning optimally, visit Dr. Jack Haney for Knoxville jaw pain treatment. Call us at 865-693-6886 or request an appointment online.

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