Nearly 1 in 8 people is affected by a TMJ disorder, according to The TMJ Association.
It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about going to the dentist. But it’s definitely a reason you should consider visiting Nashua Family Dentistry.
For years, we have been helping patients in and around Nashua, NH alleviate and prevent one of the most common causes of TMJ problems — teeth grinding.
Our dentists can examine your mouth and let you know if there are any signs of wear and tear on your teeth. If so, we’ll discuss your treatment opens and how we can help ease your pain and protect your smile.
You shouldn’t have to live with pain. Call (603) 546-7460 to make an appointment.
What You Can Do
Learning the symptoms of a TMJ disorder is the first step in helping yourself.
Frequent headaches, earaches, or jaw pain (particularly in the morning) may be signs that you are one of the millions of Americans who grind their teeth in their sleep. This can be particularly hard on your jaw joints and the muscles and other tissues that surround those joints.
You may notice jaw pain or soreness after meals. Some people report problems moving their jaws. You also may notice a painful clicking or popping as you open and close your mouth.
You might experience problems you may not immediately associate with a jaw problem, such as facial pain, neck pain, and upper back or shoulder pain.
The TMJ Association recommends first trying home treatments:
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever
- Apply moist heat if you are having problems moving your jaw
- Apply a cold or ice pack to reduce swelling and numb pain
- Stick to eating soft foods for a few days if you notice jaw pain after meals
Many people have TMJ symptoms from time to time. You should seek help if these problems persist in spite of your home treatments or if they keep coming back shortly after you stop your treatments.
If you need help, our dentists are here to provide it.
It’s also important to consider the effect that stress is having on you. Many people clench or grind their teeth (when they are awake and when they are asleep) as a means of coping with stress, even if they are not aware that they are doing it.
If stress is a contributing factor in your TMJ disorder, you may want to talk to a therapist, learn some relaxation techniques, take up exercise, or find new ways of managing the stressors in your life.
What We Can Do
When you visit us, we will want to discuss your symptoms and examine your teeth.
If you are grinding or clenching your teeth, you are adding a lot of strain to your jaw and the surrounding joints. Researchers have measured people generating 500 pounds of pressure or more when they grind their teeth in their sleep.
That can cause chips, cracks, and breaks to form. This can lead to increased tooth sensitivity, and it can make you more likely to have cavities and tooth infections.
All of these are problems. If we see signs of damage, we will want to do two things: repair the damaged teeth and stop the grinding.
We also can take an impression of your teeth to create a custom-fitted mouthguard that you can wear while you sleep. This mouthguard keeps your top and bottom teeth separated so you can’t grind them together.
It may take a few days to adjust to sleeping with a mouthguard between your teeth, but a majority of our TMJ patients find this treatment beneficial in the long run.
Stop Living in Pain
You should be able to enjoy your life. You shouldn’t be living with the pain(s) that come with a TMJ disorder.
Our team at Nashua Family Dentistry doesn’t want you to be in pain either. So, if you suspect you may have a TMJ problem, don’t put off getting help. The sooner you find a solution, the sooner you’ll be able to feel like yourself again.