Mary doesn’t know why, but her morning headaches are getting worse and happening more often. Sure she’s had stress at work and with her kids, but it hasn’t been any different than usual.

She’s noticed other problems as well. Sometimes when she tries to eat breakfast, her jaw will hurt. Trying to chew a bagel has become a bigger problem each week. Many mornings, she’ll just skip the food in favor of a smoothie or a cup of coffee.

Mary also is having pain in her neck and upper back. It’s like everything is happening all at once, and she doesn’t know why.

Well, all of those symptoms may be related to an underlying problem. Mary may be among the millions of American who grind their teeth while they are sleeping. That can lead to a TMJ disorder.

If she lives in or near Laredo, TX, that’s also a good reason for her to visit Davenport Dental Group. She should call us at 956-242-6745 (Junction Drive) or 956-517-2695 (Winfield). If you are having similar symptoms, you should call us, too.

What’s Happening?

TMJ disorders can be and often are the result of a combination of factors. Along with teeth grinding, arthritis, injuries, infections, and bite alignment issues can cause TMJ problems.

TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. You have two of these joints. To feel them, place your fingers on either side of your face, just below your ears. Then, open and close your mouth.

These are ball-and-socket joints. You can have TMJ issues with one or both at the same time.

If you are grinding or clenching your teeth, you may be putting lots of added pressure and stress on those joints as well as the surrounding muscles and ligaments. Understandably, this can cause pain in your jaw. It also can cause your jaw to feel stiff or sore, and sometimes it may even feel stuck. You may experience swelling around the jaw joint as well.

Because of the location of these joints, headaches and earaches can be symptoms of this problem. So can facial, neck, upper back, and shoulder pains.

Knowing this, our doctors can examine your teeth for signs of grinding, such as worn down enamel. That also increases your risk of decay and gum infections as well.

Fortunately, we have a solution that has helped many of our patients stop grinding and start feeling better.

Stop Grinding

Every TMJ problem does not turn into a disorder. It’s worth trying to treat your trouble at home, at least initially.

Over the counter pain relievers can help. Cold packs can reduce pain and swelling. Moist heat can help loosen your jaw. Eating soft foods for a few days may help your jaw recover as well.

If your problems continue in spite of those efforts or they keep coming back after you stop your relief efforts, then you should schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.

If teeth grinding is a problem, we can design a special mouthguard that you wear while you sleep. This holds your jaw in a more relaxed position, and it acts as a barrier to prevent you from grinding your teeth together.

If the alignment of your bite is part of the problem, orthodontic care, such as ClearCorrect aligners, may be beneficial as well. If your teeth have been damaged due to your grinding, we can restore them with dental crowns as well.

End Your Pains

Don’t let teeth grinding and a TMJ disorder disrupt your life. Call on our Laredo, TX dental team to help you. Request an appointment by filling out our online form or by calling 956-242-6745 (Junction Drive) or 956-517-2695 (Winfield).