Frequent headaches and neck pain may be signs of temporomandibular (TMJ) problems. The TMJs are joints on either side of the head that allows you to open and close your mouth and move your jaw from side to side. Damage to the joints (caused by trauma, disease or teeth grinding) can lead to pain and difficulty speaking and chewing.
Do You Have TMJ Disorder?
People who grind their teeth and clench their jaws (bruxism) are highly at risk to develop TMJ problems, but the condition can also be caused by arthritis or a blow to the TMJ area. If you experience any of the following symptoms, see your Prairie Village, KS dentist right away:
• Popping and clicking sounds when opening and closing the mouth
• Frequent headaches and migraines
• Head and neck pain
• Teeth sensitivity
• Jaw and muscle discomfort
• Dislocated jaw
If tests confirm that you have TMJ disorder, Dr. Smith may recommend pain medication, muscle relaxants, mouth guards, biofeedback, behavior medication, stress management, and other conservative therapies. Surgery is usually performed for extreme cases and as a last resort, when all other treatments have failed.
Mouth Guards and Sports Guards
For people who grind their teeth at night, mouth guards or appliances that prevent the upper and lower teeth from coming into contact are helpful. Mouth guards can also prevent bite problems, premature tooth wear and tooth sensitivity. If you play sports or engage in any activity that may potentially injure your mouth and jaw, consider wearing a sports guard.
Our clinic has an on-site laboratory that creates custom mouth guards and sports guards that work better than over-the-counter and boil and bite appliances. Custom mouth guards also fit better and are more comfortable.