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Our Charlotte University Area Dentist Explains 3 Common Sources for Jaw Pain

Many people experience jaw problems that cause them pain or annoyance and sometimes they may only be temporary, but other times, they may last for weeks, months or even years.

When this happens, patients aren’t always aware of what’s causing their jaw pain, which may be a problem with their TMJ (temporomandibular joint). This joint holds the jaw to the rest of the skull, and when it causes pain and other troubling symptoms, it’s usually a sign of a TMJ disorder.

Naturally, you use your jaw for many aspects of normal day-to-day life, so a TMJ disorder can significantly interfere with it. In order to relieve jaw pain, it’s necessary to first understand the causes, and how a dentist in Charlotte University Area, like Dr. Michael T. Williams, can help. Here are three common sources for jaw pain.

1. Malocclusion

A malocclusion is more simply known as an improper bite, and occurs when the teeth do not fit together correctly. This not only causes pain but also inefficient chewing, poor nutrient absorption and an increased risk of tooth breakage. Malocclusions can be caused by a number of factors such as genetics, wisdom teeth impaction, botched dental or orthodontic procedures, thumb-sucking and missing teeth that allow the surrounding ones to shift out of place. To address this issue, you should start by visiting your general dentist. They may place a crown or bridge to help correct small malocclusions. For more significant cases, tooth extraction, braces, or surgery in rare cases may be recommended. Because malocclusions can result from past botched procedures, your dentist may also be able to repair these if they’re the cause.

2. Tooth Grinding

Grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism, can cause them to become flattened on top. Bruxism most often occurs without the patient’s knowledge while they’re asleep. Otherwise unexplained jaw pain is the most reliable symptom especially if it occurs in the morning, but you may also experience frequent headaches. If you visit your general dentist, they can usually provide you with a special mouth guard to wear at night, thereby protecting your teeth against grinding.

3. Injury

Any time you sustain an injury to your head, neck or shoulders, there’s a potential for it to cause jaw pain. Injuries like these can damage the jaw joint, tear the muscle tissue, pop the jaw out of alignment or cause chronic inflammation of the area. As a result, patients can experience pain and cracking during eating or talking. Pain from these injuries can often be through one or more methods, including re-alignment, special dental devices, and in some cases, surgery.

Living with chronic jaw pain can make your life miserable. Furthermore, when we are unable to speak or eat without impediment, it complicates effective communication and your ability to keep yourself healthy. If you’ve been struggling to relieve jaw pain, contact our dentist in Charlotte University Area today to find out what options you have.