The Daily Grind Of Eating Lunch
- May 2, 2016
Your friends invited to you join them for a barbecue this weekend, but right now you don’t feel like going. Really, it’s the way your jaw feels that makes you want to avoid the scene, at least temporarily.
Lately, your jaw hurts every time you eat anything tougher than pudding. At times, the pain is so bad that you just stop eating altogether.
You used to enjoy your meals with your coworkers. Now, you just hope they don’t notice you wincing as you bite and chew.
By now, you’re probably realized something is wrong. It sounds like you may be experiencing at TMJ disorder.
Fortunately, you can get treatment for this problem at the office of Robert I. Hlavac, D.D.S., who serves patients in and around Concord, CA.
Jaw Pain And Other Concerns
We enjoy eating, but we agree that it would be much less enjoyable if it causes us pain every time we did it. Jaw pain during and after meals is a common symptom of TMJ disorders, but it’s only one of the possible symptoms of this condition.
In addition to the pains that accompany your meals, you may feel a lingering pain in your jaw. You may feel pain in your face, neck, shoulders, and upper back, too. Some people have headaches and earaches.
Not all the symptoms are painful, however. Some patients notice that they have limited jaw movement, such as not being able to open or close their mouths completely. Other patients will experience a temporary inability to move their jaw.
You also may be aware of a clicking or popping sensation when you open and close your mouth.
One or more of these symptoms could indicate a TMJ issue. Any one is a good reason to schedule a visit with our dentist.
The Cause Of Your Jaw Pain
It would be nice if the cause of TMJ problems could be narrowed down to a single cause, but that’s not the case. You may have jaw pain and headaches for any of the following reasons or a combination of reasons, including:
◆ Alignment issues
◆ Traumatic impact to your jaw
◆ Indirect injuries to the jaw (such as whiplash)
◆ Diseases or infections
◆ Teeth clenching or grinding
You initial thought may be, “I don’t grind my teeth.” Maybe you are right, or maybe you are one of the millions of people who clench and grind their teeth involuntarily. Maybe you are a one of the millions of people who grind their teeth in their sleep.
Diagnosis And Treatment
When you visit our office, we will discuss your symptoms and examine your mouth. We may ask you some questions.
Our dentist will examine your teeth to see how they fit together, and he will check for signs of wear and tear. This could reveal if you clench or grind your teeth together.
Stress can be one of the likely cause of clenching and grinding. Many, maybe even most, people who do this are unaware when they do this. If you clench and grind in your sleep, then you may notice that your symptoms are worse in the mornings when you wake up.
The effects of this behavior (or any of the other possible causes) is that it creates problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and with the muscles surrounding it. These joints are located on either side of your skull (near your ears), and they allow you to bite, chew, speak, and sing.
If home remedies (pain relievers, heat, and cold, eating softer foods) have not helped, then you really owe it to yourself to contact our office. You will not gain from this kind of pain.
You will be glad to know that most of the time TMJ disorders can be treated without surgery, however.
One of our common treatments is creating a mouthguard for you to wear. The mouthguard is something you can wear during the day or while you are asleep. The mouthguard will change the position of your jaw. It will retrain your jaw so that it rests is a more relaxed position.
The mouthguard also creates a barrier between your top and bottom rows of teeth. This will prevent you from clenching or grinding them together.
Over time, this should alleviate the pains that you have been feeling.
Get Relief From Your Pain
If you would like to enjoy eating once again, please call Robert I. Hlavac, D.D.S., in Concord, CA. Our staff will help answer your questions and get you back to feeling like yourself again.