Jaw pain can occur for many reasons. Stress and depression, which can increase bruxism (grinding and clenching of the teeth), have been directly linked to jaw pain. Many people suffer from this problem without even knowing it. Arthritis and traumatic accidents can also cause jaw pain. Whatever the cause may be, jaw pain is a serious matter that requires the aid of a dental professional.
One treatment for bruxism involves the use of an occlusal splint (or “night guard”). Although it is called a night guard, many dentists will ask that it be worn 24 hours until acute pain dissipates. The current thinking is that a splint cannot stop one from grinding, but it can protect the teeth, jaw joints, and chewing muscles while grinding is taking place. The splint does this by eliminating interferences in the way the top and bottom teeth meet when you bite down. In a similar way, orthodontic treatment can move the teeth to eliminate interferences and reduce the damage being caused by bruxism.
Contact us today if you are experiencing jaw pain due to TMJ.