Headaches? Jaw Pains? Could Be Teeth Grinding
Another morning, another headache.
You would really like to enjoy a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, but you don’t. Just the thought of trying to chew that bagel reminds you how sore your jaw felt the last time you ate.
How long have you been dealing with the headaches? The jaw pain?
How long will you keep putting up with it before you make an appointment at Parkway Dental?
Your symptoms could be caused by teeth grinding, which also can lead to other long-term problems.
The Problems With Teeth Grinding
We say problems because teeth clenching and grinding — also known as bruxism — can cause both oral health problems and interfere with your daily life.
People grind and clench their teeth for a number of reasons. Anxiety and stress can play a role in this behavior. Consuming caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco products can be contributing factors as well. You also could have an alignment issue that leaves you more prone to clenching and grinding.
And you may not realize that it’s happening. Many people clench their teeth as a subconscious response to stressful situations. Other people grind their teeth in their sleep (which would certainly explain frequent morning headaches, earaches, and jaw pain).
From a strictly dental standpoint, grinding your teeth can wear down enamel, expose more sensitive parts of your teeth, and put you at greater risk of tooth decay and tooth infections.
From a more general standpoint, the effects of teeth grinding can disrupt your everyday activities.
Jaw pain can make it difficult to bite and chew, much less enjoy a meal. Severe headaches or earaches can distract you from work or prevent you from spending time with your loved ones.
And teeth grinding can lead to TMJ disorders as well.
Teeth Grinding & TMJ
TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. These joints on either side of your face allow you to move your lower jaw so you can open and close your mouth.
Teeth grinding and clenching can double or even triple the pressure you are putting on those joints. This can put a strain on one or both of these joints as well as the muscles and tissues around them.
This can lead to swelling and pain, either of which can make it difficult to open your close your mouth. That pain can spread to your face, neck, upper back, and shoulders as well.
Sometimes, TMJ issues are temporary. Taking a pain reliever and eating softer foods for a few days may be all you need to alleviate the problem.
If you pains continue or keep returning, then you may have a TMJ disorder.
This is when you should contact our team at Parkway Dental.
We Can Help End Your Teeth Grinding
If teeth grinding is a factor in your TMJ disorder, then it’s important to address the cause of your pains. We have treatments that can prevent the grinding, relieve the pressure on your joints, and ease the pains you have been dealing with for too long.
One of our doctors can examine your teeth and jaw to looks for signs of teeth grinding. If we see those signs, we will talk to you about our treatment options.
We can create a custom-fitted night guard for you to wear while you sleep. This will prevent your top and bottom teeth from touching one another (so you can’t grind them together). It also can train your jaw to rest in a more relaxed position, relieving the pressure on your joints and surrounding tissues.