Jaw Pain Calgary
Locking jaw or your jaw clicking and clenching?
As with anything you use daily, over time there is going to be significant wear and tear. The same principle applies to your teeth. Practically everything you do requires the use of your teeth and your jaws.
Jaw pain is common among Calgarians and the wear and tear can cause TMJ disorder, or TMJD for short.
Your bite (occlusion) plays an important role
Am I just too Stressed?
TMJD symptoms – clicking – pain – limitations… What’s going on?
When you bite down, do you experience pain?
Are you restricted with how much you can open your mouth?
When you open your mouth wide – does your TMJ’s pop or click?
Have friends or family members commented on how loud your clicking or popping jaw is?
If you answered yes to even one of those questions, something isn’t right.
A healthy and normal TMJ is quiet when it’s working. During eating, chewing, singing, swallowing, talking, and even breathing – you should feel no discomfort or experience anything unusual. The muscles that control your jaw should work in harmony, allowing you to open and close your mouth both smoothly and silently.
If you notice a constant clicking, popping, and snapping when you engage in everyday activities, something isn’t right. Clicking, popping and pain are indicators that your jaw joint may be unstable.
Jaw popping and your TMJ – pop goes your disc
When your jaw is misaligned and not properly supported by your occlusion, it can be limited in its range of motion. You could be at a friend’s dinner party and suddenly you can’t open your mouth wide enough to eat. When you yawn or talk, you feel as though you need to help support your jaw.
If you suffer from TMJD, the ability to open your mouth fully or widely can be limited and painful.
There is a Muscle – Tooth War inside your head
When your teeth bite in one spot but your muscles and jaw joints want to sit in another for balance and comfortability, you set tension within the jaw system. It is a WAR, between the stability of biting together and the happiness of the soft structures like the jaw muscles and the jaw joint.
In this WAR, one of 3 things can happen
- If your muscles are winning they will tell you to grind your teeth to a less strained bite position and you have rapid tooth wear
- If your teeth win they tell the muscles to work harder and keep clenching and you will have muscle tension and stress along with headaches and other TMJ problems but your teeth will not be worn down.
- Or worse: you will experience a combination of both and you have rapid tooth wear and muscle tensions and spasms
Jaw misalignment and teeth wear greatly influence the appearance of your face. A poorly aligned jaw creates deterioration of your teeth, causing them to look crooked or show the wear and breakdown of constant grinding.
Are you taking a nail file to your teeth?
Sounds like a ridiculous question. But dentists often see teeth that have been worn in such a way that unless you are using a nail file on them you must be causing excess wear by grinding the upper and lower teeth together. Now we assume that you are not using a nail file but the fact remains that teeth are showing too much wear. This is your body’s neuromuscular response to a misaligned bite (malocclusion).
The wear on teeth is slow, you are consciously unaware of it and it can eventually destroy your teeth. “I don’t think I grind my teeth” is a common comment from our patients. But what the patients do not realize is that the grinding does not require conscious thought to happen. In fact, the grinding takes place due to a neural loop from the teeth to the brain stem and back to the muscles of the head and neck. This grinding happens at the same level as blinking your eyes or swallowing saliva. You do not have to be aware of it for it to happen.
Many professionals mistakenly think that tooth wear takes place at night and never during the day. But in reality, our teeth rarely touch at night. This wear pattern is a daytime function happening below our conscious level.
Are your teeth chipping or getting loose? Imagine backing your car every morning and you bump the fence along the driveway with your bumper. You don’t hit it hard but you hit it every day. What will happen with that fence? Well, at some point the posts will snap or the fence will tip and become loose. Now imagine that you are banging your teeth day and night, just a little but all the time. What will happen? The teeth will break or become loose over time. This constant banging of the teeth can be a long-term problem. In turn, it can damage your teeth, gum tissue and jaw bone.
Mind and Body Connection
TMJD’s impact can shorten your teeth causing…
- Changes in the shape of your lips
- Wrinkles and creases to form and deepen on the sides of your mouth and nose
- The appearance of jowls on the sides of your jaw
Jaw Pain Calgary Care
Are you experiencing some of these problems … or worse, all of them? We encourage you to talk to Dr. Westersund about TMJD treatment options and jaw pain Calgary care. Learn how we can relieve your jaw pain and TMJ treatments can improve your well being. Preventing serious issues caused by TMJD early is important for your health. Schedule a consultation or call us at 403 262-9898 today.