While chronic jaw pain may not be as common as toothaches, the discomfort can often have a wide-ranging effect on your bite function and more. In many cases, the cause of the discomfort can be traced to an issue with one or both of your temporomandibular joints (TMJs) – the large joints on either side of your jaw that control its movement. Referred to as TMJ disorder, this type of chronic jaw pain may also be accompanied by a wide range of other symptoms, such as frequent headaches, earaches, and more. If your jaw constantly hurts, then we may be able to help you determine if you have TMJ disorder, and how to help you find lasting relief from it.
Your TMJs are large, complex joints that work together to allow your lower jaw, or mandible, to open, close, and move about. TMJ disorder can describe one of many different forms of damage to one or both joints, such as inflamed tissues, misaligned joints, and more. As a result of the disorder, you may have trouble biting and chewing, experience popping and clicking sensations when you open/close your jaw, and experience increasingly worse pain in one or both joints. This can also aggravate the dominant nerve groups near your jaw joints, which can lead to the wide ranging symptoms that are often associated with TMJ disorder.
There are many different risk factors that can potentially contribute to the development of TMJ disorder. For example, if your teeth aren’t aligned properly, then your jaw may have to accommodate the imbalance every time you bite and chew. This can lead to damage to one or both of them, which will grow increasingly the worse the longer the misalignment is left untreated. Other common risk factors can include constantly grinding your teeth (a condition known as bruxism), an injury to your oral or facial structures, and more.
Because of the many different potential symptoms that TMJ disorder can generate, it may be difficult for you to determine if it’s the cause of your discomfort. A professional diagnosis at your dentist’s office is the only way to know for sure, which involves a thorough examination to gauge your bite’s function and determine the underlying cause of your disorder, if you have it. In many cases, the discomfort of TMJ disorder can be alleviated with the help of a custom-designed appliance that can offer your jaw and TMJs greater support.
Dealing with chronic jaw pain can be more than a hassle, but with custom TMJ treatment, we may be able to help you find lasting relief. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling Yelena Popkova D.D.S. in Merrimack, NH, today at 603-595-9400. We also serve the residents of Nashua, Hudson, Manchester, Milford, and all surrounding communities.