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Why Does My Jaw Ache?

 

When your jaw hurts, it can throw your whole life out of balance, especially if you don’t know why your jaw is hurting or when it will stop. Thankfully, many causes of jaw pain are temporary and don’t require much intervention, but occasionally jaw pain is a sign of something a bit more serious. But how do you know the difference - and when should you see a doctor? If you’ve got jaw pain, check out these possible reasons why, and what you should do to stop it.

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The TMJ/Orthodontic Connection Orthodontists Sometimes Miss

 

When most people undergo orthodontic treatment, they expect the problems in their mouth to go away. As their teeth get straighter, the wear on their teeth becomes more natural and even. Their confidence improves, and everything just feels better. But what many patients don’t realize is that unless their orthodontist is well versed in the muscles and joints of the face and jaw, their happiness over their new smile could be short-lived.

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Why Proper Jaw Spacing Is So Important

The benefits of a beautiful, evenly aligned smile are easy to see. But did you know that when it comes to a perfect smile, there’s more than meets the eye? It’s true! A beautiful smile goes far beyond just looks - having a beautifully aligned smile has health benefits, too. It can help eliminate the pain associated with crowding, bruxism (also known as tooth grinding) and even temporomandibular joint disorders (aka TMJ disorders, or simply TMD). That’s one of the main reasons that, when it comes to aligning your bite, early intervention is best.

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Know the Warning Signs of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)


Do you experience a weird clicking sound when you open and close your mouth? Does your jaw ache, or do you have trouble opening your mouth wide? Do you suffer from a sore neck or headaches that occur behind your ears? You could be suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. Often erroneously referred to as TMJ, TMD is a condition of the temporomandibular joint (the actual TMJ). So, how do you know if you have TMD? Check out this list of common TMD symptoms and see if you might be at risk.

 

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TMJ and Halloween Candy


With overflowing buckets of Halloween candy hanging around the house for weeks, and the winter holidays on the way, there’s plenty of potential for aggravating your TMJ disorder by eating the wrong treats. It can be difficult to know what’s safe to eat and what has the potential to worsen your TMJ symptoms.  If you’re swimming in snacks but don’t know which ones are safe, check out this guide to TMJ-friendly (and not-so-friendly!) treats.

 

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The Dangers of Untreated TMJD

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, more commonly known as TMJD, is more than just a pesky headache or jaw discomfort. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, an estimated 5 to 12% of the population suffer from the disorder. What's even more alarming is that only half to two-thirds of those will seek treatment for the condition. So what happens if TMJD is left untreated? Dr. Simpson is quick to explain some of the dangers that patients may face if they choose to forgo treatment.

TMJD is notorious for causing chronic headaches and debilitating jaw pain that can disrupt your day to day life by making sleeping and eating difficult. The pain can quickly escalate from mildly uncomfortable to severely unbearable. Most patients will treat their symptoms with over the counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, but the risk of relying on stronger prescription medications to alleviate the pain can lead to substance dependency and abuse.

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Michele Simpson DDS

Wilmington Dental Office

3317 Masonboro Loop Rd • Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28409

(910) 550-3959

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3317 Masonboro Loop Rd
Suite 140
Wilmington, NC 28409