TMJ Disorders in Wilmington, DE
Have you been experiencing any of these symptoms lately?
- Earaches when you first wake up in the morning
- Facial pain
- Sore jaw muscles
- Damaged tooth enamel
- Loose teeth
Believe it or not, some or all of the above symptoms can be attributed to problems with (TMJ) temporomandibular joint disorder. The resulting discomfort from this disorder can be attributed to a wide range of habits that you may not realize you are doing. Grinding, sliding your teeth back and forth over each other, clenching your teeth, or holding them too tightly together can all contribute to the symptoms of TMJ problems. This can happen at any age and can cause real trauma to your teeth.
Dr. Gladnick can diagnose these problems by looking for areas on your teeth that are unusually worn down. If you have regular check-ups, this can be detected early before too much damage occurs.
A comfortable night guard can be custom-made by Dr. Gladnick from soft material to fit your teeth. It will relieve the pressure from the grinding and clenching, which will eventually damage your delicate jaw joints.
You may also require some reshaping of "high spots" on one or more teeth. For more serious cases, biting surfaces may have to be reshaped or resurfaced with inlays or crowns.
Your pain can be relieved by paying attention to the symptoms and seeing your dentist regularly.
A True Story – "I Can't Open My Mouth!"
Recently, a young college student came into my office in tears. She was in extreme joint pain and was unable to open her mouth. Upon examination and discussion with the patient, it became clear to me that the severe muscle spasms that were causing her pain were due to chronic clenching and grinding.
One of the obvious remedies to alleviate the pain resulting from constant bruxism (grinding) is to make a night guard for the patient. However, in the case of this young co-ed, the muscle spasms prevented her from opening her mouth wide enough for an impression to be taken. I advised he to take four basic immediate actions, which you could also try if you are experiencing similar symptoms:
- Apply moist heat to both sides of the face four times a day for twenty minutes. This will improve the blood flow to the temporal mandibular joint muscles (TMJ), which will help to diminish the spasm.
- Limit caffeine intake because it is a general body stimulant and will make the spasms worse.
- Maintain a soft diet so as not to trigger more muscle spasms.
- Take 400 mg of ibuprofen every six hours with food to help reduce the inflammation.
Above all, do not chew gum as this will only increase your acute discomfort.
In extreme cases, such as the case of this college student, a muscle skeletal relaxer can be prescribed by your dentist to help interrupt the spasm cycle. This is not meant to be long term.
Once the patient can open her mouth wide enough to allow an impression to be taken, a personalized night guard can be designed to fit comfortably and prevent the grinding that is the culprit in causing the pain.
College exams are just weeks away. Grinding season is upon us!
Recently, I received this question from a patient:
My 13-year-old is constantly biting various objects (including her nails) and complains about having pain in her jaw, difficulty opening her mouth very wide, and headaches. If she stops biting her nails and other objects will this pain go away?
The short answer is: possibly. A recent study by researchers at two universities in Sao Paulo, Brazil, actually linked such functional habits as nail biting, clenching, grinding, lip or object biting, gum chewing, joint noises, and difficulty opening the mouth with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain. Headaches were another common symptom, as well as facial fatigue and even "locked jaw." Your daughter's pain can be alleviated by using a night guard. This is a very comfortable appliance that looks like an orthodontic retainer.
TMJ Treatment in Pike Creek & Wilmington
We can evaluate your daughter's symptoms through a clinical exam. The night guard will help to eliminate the effects of the grinding and clenching, and she may find that she stops the nail biting and other bad habits. Relief is on the way!