Face and Head Pain Needs to be Addressed
- Posted on: Feb 15 2018
Chronic headaches, facial pain, jaw stiffness; these are all problems that may stem from a problem with the moving parts of the mouth. When symptoms like these become persistent, it is nearly impossible to not get more than a little frustrated. To successfully reduce or eliminate painful symptoms, it is first necessary to recognize where the problem originates. From that point or origin, an experienced neuromuscular dentist can develop a proper protocol. The problem is, it can be difficult to get from point A to point B.
Where we Slip Up
The first problem in resolving chronic pain in the face and head is that there isn’t much awareness that problems like migraines, ear pain or ringing in the ears, and stiffness may even be something to see the dentist for. Most people, when they face such symptoms, rely on over-the-counter medication to improve comfort as needed. Beyond this, they may consult with their family physician and receive a prescription for stronger pain-reducing medication. When we can recognize symptoms of jaw pain, facial pain, and headaches as a potential mouth problem, we are better able to move forward toward successful treatment.
There are two common mouth issues that may lead to chronic or frequent pain. One is bruxism, or clenching and grinding. The other is TMJ disorder. It is important to differentiate the two because the objective in treatment may be unique to each. For example, a patient who has carried on the habit of bruxism for some time may find relief by learning to manage stress and by reducing the stress absorbed by the joints of the jaw (and teeth) through the use of a mouthguard worn at night.
TMJ disorder is not a habit; it’s a condition. To have TMJ disorder ultimately means that the joints that move the lower jaw are not working properly. The objective in treating this condition, then, is first to find out why the joints have stopped functioning optimally. Interestingly, one reason why this may occur is that of a bruxism habit. Additional reasons include poorly-fit dental restorations and a bad bite. Rather than simply prescribe a mouthguard for TMJ disorder, your neuromuscular dentist develops a treatment plan around the cause of your condition.
Posted in: TMJ / Neuromuscular Dentistry