Can My Dentist Help With Jaw Pain?

October 5, 2020 Grandville Dental Health Center

jaw pain Grandville MI

Do you find yourself waking up with jaw pain? Often, people who wake up with jaw pain are suffering from one of two conditions: bruxism or TMJ disorder. If your jaw is sore in the morning, our Grandville dentists may be able to help.

What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the term for clenching or grinding your teeth at night. You may not even be aware you suffer from bruxism until your partner brings it up.

In addition to jaw pain, sufferers of bruxism may experience other symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Fatigue
  • Worn, cracked, or chipped teeth

What Is TMJ Disorder?

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the hinges that connect your jawbone to your skull. Pain around these joints may indicate TMJ disorder.

TMJ disorder can be caused by stress on your TMJ, muscle strain, joint damage, joint inflammation, or abnormal anatomy. Grinding or clenching your teeth at night can actually worsen TMJ disorder symptoms.

Along with jaw pain, symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Jaw locking
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing
  • Popping or grinding noises when opening your mouth

Dental Solutions for Jaw Pain

If you’re dealing with teeth or gum problems, you probably feel confident seeing your dentist for help. But did you know that dentists can offer solutions for jaw pain as well?

Our dentists offer custom night guards to help patients who are suffering from jaw pain in the morning. Night guards can help alleviate the stress on your jaw and decrease your pain. Whether you’re grinding or clenching your teeth at night, a night guard can protect both your teeth and your TMJ from further wear and tear.

Night Guards vs. Sports Mouth Guards

Maybe you wear a sports mouth guard to protect your teeth while you’re playing on the field. Why should you get a custom night guard instead? Aren’t all mouth guards the same?

The truth is that night guards and sports mouth guards are different. Sports mouth guards are designed to protect your teeth from force and impact originating from outside of your body. Night guards are designed to protect your teeth from force originating inside of your body—mainly, clenching or grinding actions.

You may notice that your sports mouth guard is actually thicker than your custom night guard. If you wore your athletic mouth guard at night, your mouth would stay open by a few millimeters. This could actually alter the alignment of your bite, changing how your teeth fit together. Night guards are designed to protect your teeth without altering your bite and creating more problems.

Why You Should Get a Custom Night Guard

Maybe getting a custom night guard sounds like a big investment. However, it pales in comparison to the cost of restorative dentistry.

Night guards can alleviate jaw pain caused by TMJ disorder or bruxism, but they can’t fix a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth. Eventually, the pressure of your teeth grinding and clenching may result in permanent damage to your teeth. At that point, you’ll not only need a custom night guard to prevent further damage, but you’ll also need a tooth restoration, whether it’s a dental crown, bridge, or implant.

Get Jaw Pain Relief with a Custom Night Guard

Our Grandville, MI dentists can help alleviate jaw pain caused by bruxism or TMJ disorder with a custom night guard. Call Grandville Dental Health Center today at (616) 531-0360, or contact us online to request an appointment.

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