Does Your Jaw Joint Hurt?
One the common reason your jaw joint hurts, is due to teeth grinding and clenching – those who grind or clench their teeth are commonly unaware of their behaviour, unless told by someone sleeping next to them, or by a dental professional noticing tell-tale signs of wear and tear on the teeth.
Common reasons for grinding are;
- Stress – often leads to unreleased nervous energy can cause conscious and unconscious grinding and clenching.
- Crookedness of teeth
- Sleep Apnoea
Treatment depends on the reason but can be as simple as eating soft foods or applying heat and ice packs, physical therapy ( such as massage and jaw manipulation ), stress management and sleep apnoea treatment. However if these do not work, then occlusal therapy would be the solution. Occlusal therapy simply means a custom-made guard (called a ‘splint’ ), needs to be constructed to protect the teeth for night-time wear-but may be required throughout the day if you’re grinding is severe. The guard acts to balance the bite and reduce teeth grinding or clenching, but more importantly to guard and protect the teeth from wear, cracks and chips.
Failure to protect the teeth can lead to an increase in chipped teeth, tooth wear ( which may, overtime, cause your smile to looked aged by shortening the size of your teeth and causing them to appear stumpy) and hairline fractures.
Once this occurs, there is often a need for more invasive, costly dental treatment. So if your grinding or clenching your teeth and your jaw joint hurts, make sure you get a splint made.