After a full eight hours of sleep, you would expect to be well rested and feel rejuvenated for your work week, yet you wake up with a pounding headache and stiff jaws. These symptoms are leaving you mind-boggled. If you’re sleeping through the night, what could possibly be wrong? Unfortunately, you may be suffering from a common malfunction in your joints known as a TMJ disorder, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). Dr. Gary Chaffee and his office team at Paraiso Family Dental and Orthodontics offer TMJ therapy in Newbury Park that can help you solve this head, neck, and jaw mystery.
What is a TMJ disorder?
Let’s start by explaining what a “TMJ” is. Temporomandibular joints are triangular-shaped joints made of muscle and cartilage. They are both located on each side of your head, just in front of your ears, and serve the purpose of helping your mouth and jaw open and close with ease. Essentially, they are the “middle men” between your jaw and the temporal bone (your skull).
This function can become interrupted for a multitude of reasons. Some of the most common being extreme stress or a malocclusion (an improper bite). When this happens, the nerve endings become exposed, sending pain signals to our brain.
Do I have TMJ disorder?
Take into consideration some of the factors that may be causing your TMJs to malfunction. The inner workings of our jaws are not only subject to psychological and emotional stress, but physical stress as well. Yes, your TMJs are primarily influenced by your bite and the structure of your jaw. However, a dangerous combination of extra stress and a bit less sleep each night added to a change in your bite, and the whole system could be thrown off balance. Something as small as teeth grinding in Newbury Park could be a physical stressor that can send this critical system into overdrive. Common symptoms of a TMJ disorder include:
- Consistent headaches.
- “Sticking” or “locking” of your jaws.
- Swelling on either sides of your face.
- Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw, shoulders or neck.
- Grinding or clenching your teeth, whether conscious or asleep.
- Pain around your ears when you speak, chew, or open your mouth wide.
- Grating, popping, or clicking sounds when closing your mouth or chewing.
- A sudden uncomfortable bite, as if your upper and lower teeth are not fitting correctly.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please give us a call immediately to schedule a visit with Dr. Chaffee. It is important to catch a TMJ disorder early on to avoid further oral health care problems.
How can Paraiso Family Dental and Orthodontics help me?
Our office has a few different approaches to help eliminate the many cases of TMJ disorders. One popular way to help is by prescribing a custom-fitted oral bite appliance that you can wear at night. This bite guard acts as a barrier between your grating teeth, while at the same time realigning your bite, protecting your smile. Other alternative ways to assist in this battle against TMJ disorders include a variety of suggestions to reduce stress. Some of our patient’s favorites include yoga or meditation classes within our surrounding areas. After all, Dr. Chaffee isn’t just concerned about your dental care, but your overall health.
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact our office. We are committed to providing comprehensive dental care and information, leading Newbury Park patients to restored oral health.