jaw pain WacoThe temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the joint that controls the opening and closing of your mouth. If you experience regular pain in your TMJ, you know this joint well, and you may be wondering what is causing that pain. If the pain is regular, there is a chance that you may have a TMJ disorder, which occurs when the delicate balance of the TMJ is disturbed. If untreated, TMJ disorders can cause frequent headaches, migraines, earaches, difficulty sleeping, a locked jaw, and many other problems. But what causes TMJ disorders? Your Waco dentist, Dr. Corbet Locke, has the answer.

Causes of TMJ Pain

  1. Bruxism. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, often occurs during the night without the knowledge of the sleeper. The forces of bruxism can wear down teeth, causing damage to their structural integrity. But that is not the only damage that bruxism can cause. The forces generated by teeth grinding can put significant strain on the TMJ, leading to TMJ pain and sometimes a TMJ disorder.
  2. Malocclusion. Malocclusion is also known as “bat bite.” Malocclusion occurs when teeth fit together improperly. When teeth do not come together properly, the TMJ is put under strain. Such stress can cause TMJ pain and a disorder.
  3. A blow to the jaw. Significant force on the jaw can lead to misalignment. If the jaw is not aligned properly, the TMJ falls under strain, resulting in pain and a possible disorder.

Treating TMJ Pain

If bruxism is the cause of TMJ pain, a sleep guard can reposition the jaw during the night and protect teeth from wear. Stress management therapy may also prove useful if the cause of bruxism is stress. In cases caused by malocclusion, orthodontic dental work can correct the bite and relieve TMJ pain.

Schedule a Visit with Your Waco Dentist

If you experience jaw pain, you may have developed a TMJ disorder. Without treatment, your quality of life could suffer greatly. Schedule an appointment or a consultation with your Waco dentist, Dr. Locke, today by calling 254-776-4888. Our 76172 dental office serves patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding communities.