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Cruel Summer: The Pain Of TMD & Bruxism [BLOG]

  • June 17, 2017

Do you suffer from painful headaches and migraines with no apparent cause? Do you find yourself sitting in traffic and realize all of a sudden you’re gripping the steering wheel tightly and clenching your teeth with the bite force of a great white shark?

Although it may sound like pretty normal experiences for anyone well versed in the art of adulting, any sort of chronic pain or tension is an indication of an underlying, potentially serious, problem.

At the LANAP & Implant Center, we see patients all the time who show similar symptoms. Most often, it’s because they suffer from what’s known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) or they’re experiencing the effects of bruxism.

In either case, the pain and discomfort you have to deal with on a daily basis punctuates everything you do. When you’re only able to focus on the pain, it’s nearly impossible to be truly present. That’s a terrible dilemma, especially this time of year!

Summer is a time when you should be outside, playing with your kids, taking fun family vacations or spending evenings with friends enjoying a baseball game. It’s not the time to be stuck indoors trying to manage your symptoms with ineffective over-the-counter pain relievers.

The first step toward relief is to understand what TMD and bruxism are and the symptoms that come with them.

Do You Show Signs Of TMD Or Bruxism?

TMD occurs when there’s dysfunction to the joint that connects your jaw to the rest of your skull. It can affect anyone, and while no one can say for sure what exactly causes it, there does seem to be agreement as to some of the more common possibilities:

-Injury or trauma to the head, neck, or jaw area

-Arthritis of the jaw joint

-Stress that causes you to clench or grind your teeth, which adds pressure to the joint

-Disc movement

Here are a few common symptoms of TMD:

-Frequent headaches or migraines

-Pain and muscle tension in the jaw, head, and neck

-Earaches

-Soreness of the jaw

-Clicking or popping of the jaw

Any of these sound familiar?

Bruxism, like TMD, affects the areas of your face, jaw, neck, and head. That’s because when you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, it can cause undue stress to all of those areas. Also like TMD, it can affect anyone, although it’s most common in people ages 20-40, and it often occurs at night while you sleep. How’s that for a challenging diagnosis!

But teeth grinding certainly isn’t limited to nighttime. You can do it all throughout the day, and you may or may not realize it. One of the threats it poses to your oral health is the constant undue pressure being placed on your teeth. This can alter the shape of your teeth, the alignment of your bite, and can even lead to tooth loss.

It’s actually pretty easy to confuse TMD with bruxism simply because they share similar symptoms. There also seems to be some overlap of causes. So for example, you could have bruxism, which might lead to TMD. Or you might have TMD, which could lead to bruxism.

That’s why it’s so important to visit our specialists at the LANAP & Implant Center. We have the tools and the expertise to properly diagnose and treat the painful symptoms of TMD and bruxism.

Find Relief At The LANAP & Implant Center

Don’t let yourself go another day with pain in your jaw, neck, and head, or feeling sore and sluggish throughout the day. It’s time to get the help you need so you can get outside, soak up the sun and the fresh air, and start enjoying a beautiful summer with the kids!

Our team of professionals at the LANAP & Implant Center can help you. Because we take an integrated approach to your dental care, you can be sure to find a variety of highly effective treatments that can allow you to finally live pain-free.

Call us  TODAY at 610-228-4366 for our Collegeville, PA office or 570-505-6908 for our Williamsport location. You can also fill out our convenient online form.