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Don’t Stress Over Your TMJ Problems

Posted on April 22nd, 2016

Having you ever been trying to work when someone nearby was clicking a ballpoint pen repeatedly?

At first, it may have been a minor inconvenience, but it became a huge distraction the longer it continued.

As you sat, you may have felt comfortable telling the offender to cut it out.

Or you may have sat quietly, clenching your teeth together hoping the person would quit or leave.

The latter response is our concern in today’s post. That kind of reaction can lead to serious TMJ problems if it has become how you deal with stress.

The dentists at Atlanta West Dentistry don’t want you to grind your teeth away for multiple reasons, which is why you should give us a call to help with your TMJ issues if you live in or near Marietta, GA.

The Beginning Of Your Problems

Stress may be one of the underlying factors contributing to your habitual or unconscious teeth clenching and grinding.

This may be a deliberate response on your part. When your boss asks/tells you to make a last-minute change on a project, you may grin and bear it rather than risking getting fired by saying what you are thinking.

In the process, you may be biting your tongue figuratively, while literally clenching your teeth together

You may not be aware of it, but your stress reaction can occur while you are sleeping, too. That’s right. You may be spending hours every night grinding your teeth into one another.

A healthy human bite falls between 200 and 250 pounds of pressure, but people who grind their teeth in their sleep have been measured producing up to 900 pounds of force.

That’s a lot of extra pressure on your TMJ, and it could go a long way toward explaining the headaches you may be experiencing in the morning.

What Is A TMJ Disorder?

Before we go any further, we want to give you a short explanation of the TMJ. This stands for temporomandibular joints. They are the ball-and-socket joints that attach your jaw to your skull.

This joint and the muscles that connect to it make it possible for you to bite, chew, speak, sing, and anything else that involves opening or closing your mouth.

A TMJ disorder occurs when you have a problem with one or both joints or their connecting muscles.

How do you know if you have a TMJ disorder? That’s a simple question, which unfortunately does not always have a simple answer.

The first thing you will want to do is compare what you are experiencing with the common symptoms of TMJ disorders:

  • Frequent headaches, which may include migraines
  • Earaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Pain during or after eating
  • Facial pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder or upper back pain
  • Inability to fully open or close your mouth
  • Inability to move your jaw
  • Popping or clicking sensations when you open or close your jaw

TMJ problems can cause a single symptom, or you may experience multiple symptoms due to your condition. Many symptoms are common to TMJ disorders and other problems. 

Nevertheless, we encourage you to make an appointment with us if you are experiencing any of them or more than one on a regular basis.

Breaking The Habit

We offer ways to correct your TMJ issues that are the result of teeth clenching and grinding. We will look for wear and tear on your teeth that indicate clenching and grinding. We also will look for any structural problems with your bite or your jaw that could be exaggerating your condition.

To fix the problem, you may need to examine how you are coping with stress. Learning some relaxation techniques such as meditation or exercising could help on the emotional side.

On the physical side, we can create a special kind of mouthguard to protect your teeth. These “nightguards” are worn while you sleep. They prevent your teeth from touching one another, and they reposition your jaw.

With time, this can train your jaw to rest in a more relaxed position, too, which will alleviate the added pressure you have been putting on your TMJ.

If needed, we may look into bite adjustments or Botox as well to relieve discomfort that you may be feeling in your jaw.

Be Comfortable Again

Tackling TMJ disorders takes a team effort, and Atlanta West Dentistry is on your side. If you want to end the headaches, the jaw pains, and the other problems you are having, then you need to make an appointment with us.

Call (770) 941-6979 or fill out our online form to schedule a visit at our Marietta, GA, dentist office.