Many people suffer from chronic headaches, earaches, tinnitus, and neck pain and
have no idea what is causing their discomfort. Perhaps you have experienced similar discomfort yourself. All of these symptoms could be related to TMJ disorder. TMJ is an abbreviation for the temporomandibular joints, which connect your jaw to your skull. When teeth grinding or clinching is allowed to go on without treatment, or a misaligned bite is not repaired, stress on the TMJ can lead to chronic pain in
the head and neck. Along with symptoms like headache and earache, you might
experience difficulty chewing food or opening and closing your mouth. These
symptoms can dramatically impact your quality of life.
Bruxism is a common term for teeth grinding. Bruxism is a habitual disorder that
normally occurs at night or when the patient is under stress. Often, people suffering
from bruxism are completely unaware of it until a loved one hears them grinding in
their sleep or their dentist observes wear on the molars, indicative of grinding. The
stress of bruxism on the jaw and the surrounding muscles and joints is a main cause
of TMJ disorder.
Your Pella dentist, Dr. Jeffrey F. Allen, can diagnose bruxism, usually through a
simple oral exam. Once bruxism has been confirmed, Dr. Allen can fit a custom
occlusal splint, which you will wear at night. These nightguards not only allow your jaw
muscles to relax, which prevents stress on your TMJ, they also reduce the damage
that bruxism causes to your teeth. If bruxism is the origin of your TMJ disorder, these custom
appliances can often provide relief from pain and discomfort.
Occlusion refers to the way the upper and lower arches of the teeth meet, and
malocclusion is the term used when those arches do not align. Because teeth
are not fitting together properly, the muscles and joints surrounding the jaw are
constantly strained. As a result, malocclusion can lead to chronic pain, specifically
TMJ disorder. Dr. Allen can repair malocclusion through restorative dentistry, such
as the application of crowns to teeth to allow correct alignment.
If you find yourself suffering from any of the symptoms we’ve mentioned,
contact your Pella dentist, Dr. Jeffrey F. Allen, at 641-628-1121 and schedule an
appointment. We are located on the west side of the historic town square in Pella,
IA. Please see the map for directions.