You survived Thanksgiving, and now you’re getting ready for Christmas, the New Year, and possibly other celebrations as well. Getting together with family and friends can make this one of the most enjoyable times of the year.
It can also make this time of year stressful.
You may receive invitations to events that conflict with one another. You may be struggling to figure out what gifts to get for the special people in your life. The stress of the holidays can add to the stress you are feeling from work or because of personal matters.
That also could explain headaches or earaches, jaw pains, and soreness in your face.
You may be having TMJ problems, or worse, you could have a TMJ disorder. We’ll explain why below. If you suspect this could be a problem for you, please call 920-243-4122 or fill out our online form to set up an appointment with Dr. James Eike. Smile Creations in Neenah, WI may have the solution for jaw problem.
TMJ And Stress
TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorders are not simple problems, unfortunately. They can have a variety of causes, including:
■ jaw misalignments
■ teeth clenching or grinding
Now, it’s quite possible that your TMJ problems may be the result of more than one of these factors. Even so, teeth clenching and grinding is of the more common reasons people have jaw problems.
Your TMJ are located on each side of your jaw. If you place a finger just below your ears, you will likely be able to feel them moving as you open and close your mouth. This also may help you understand why headaches, earaches, and facial pain are among the symptoms of TMJ disorders.
Unfortunately, millions of Americans clench and grind their teeth as a response to stress. And many of them are unaware they are doing it because they do this while they are sleeping.
That’s hours each night when you may be grinding your teeth into one another. To give you some idea how much pressure you are generating, you first need to know that the average human bite creates between 200 and 250 pounds of pressure.
Researchers who have studied teeth clenchers and grinders have measured pressures of 500 pounds and more in multiple cases. Even at the high end of the normal bite range that’s twice as much pressure as you may generate.
That puts added stress on your teeth and jaw and on the muscles around your jaw. That’s why the pain can spread to some people’s necks, shoulders, and upper backs.
What You Can Do About TMJ
As dental professionals, we are obviously concerned about the impact of clenching and grinding on your teeth. It can wear down the enamel on your teeth, making you more vulnerable to tooth decay, toothaches, and tooth infections.
One of the most effective ways to prevent you from grinding is wearing something between your teeth while you are asleep. We can take impressions of your teeth and create a custom-fitted oral appliance just for you.
This can act as a barrier that prevents your top and bottom rows of teeth from touching one another. But that’s not the only thing it can do.
This appliance may be able to change the position of your jaw, so it remains in a relaxed position. This can lead to fewer headaches, earaches, jaw pains, and other symptoms of TMJ disorders.
Now, it may take a little time to get used to sleeping with something like a mouthguard, but we’ve had many patients thank us for how this has improved their lives.
They no longer have to start their mornings by taking a couple ibuprofen. They no longer have to skip breakfast or stick solely to soft foods like eggs to get through a meal without their jaws feeling sore, either.
Don’t Let TMJ Trouble Ruin Your Holidays … Or Any Other Days
We can’t tell you how many patients have come to us because they can no longer take the pain they are experiencing because of their teeth grinding. One mom told us about missing out on time with her family because her headaches were so bad that she couldn’t tolerate any noise whatsoever.
We want you to enjoy your time with your loved ones — especially during the holidays.