Your jaw is a joint that you rely on hundreds of times a day. When it doesn’t function properly, it can lead to chronic pain, headaches or permanent damage to the teeth. Internal damage or disorders of the joint (TMJ) may also contribute to ear pain, migraines and difficulty opening or closing your mouth.
During your exam with Dr Kaur, we will evaluate your TMJ and bite to determine if any joint treatments or therapies are necessary.
Common Types of Jaw Disorders
- TMJ Disorder — The temporomandibular joint (“TMJ”) is the hinge on either side of the mandible, where your lower jaw attaches to the rest of your body. When it doesn’t function properly, it can lead to popping, clicking, deviation of movement and pain.
- Malocclusion — A misaligned biting relationship between the upper and lower jaws can lead to TMJ pain and abnormal tooth wear. Common symptoms include crossbites, open bites, smaller lower jaws, etc.
- Bruxism — Overactive jaw muscles can cause tension in the joint and excessive strain and permanent damage to the teeth. Some people tend to clench the teeth tightly together while others grind them when they sleep. Stress is a common factor.
- Trauma and Injuries — It’s not uncommon for athletes to be affected by trauma to the jaw during physical activity. Such injuries can also contribute to the chance of concussion.
- Osteonecrosis — Bone loss can be caused by specific types of medications, cancers or even age. Too much bone loss can predispose a person to fractures or tooth loss.
- Cysts and Abscesses — Cysts, infections and tumors in the jaw are not uncommon. They are usually diagnosed by taking routine full mouth X-rays.
Therapeutic and Non-Surgical Jaw Treatment
Early screening and therapeutic appliances are effective ways to manage jaw disorders and chronic pain. Treatments are customized to each individual patient, depending on their risk factors. Some examples include:
- Orthodontics to align the upper and lower teeth
- Protective mouthguards that guard against injuries and concussions
- Bite splints for night time bruxing and grinding
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
If you suspect a jaw injury or are suffering from TMJ pain, contact our Bupa preferred dentist to schedule a complimentary evaluation. Same-day appointments are available.