Teeth are negatively affected by 3 diseases: decay (cavities), periodontal (gum and bone) disease, and occlusal disease (instability). Occlusion describes the way your teeth come together, in other words, your bite. Some examples of the adverse affects of occlusal instability are wear, sensitivity, cracks, loose teeth, broken teeth, sore muscles, painful jaw joints, and headaches. Often, the lower jaw must shift in order to close the upper and lower teeth together and creates bite (occlusal) instability. The mandible, or lower jaw, has two joints that are located in front of each ear and contain the lower teeth. When the upper and lower jaws are allowed to function properly in a relaxed manner, the lower jaw hinges freely at the joints without a “shift” when closing the lower teeth evenly to the upper teeth; this creates a solid and comfortable bite.
Occlusal disease (instability) can result in the following problems:
- Muscle tension headaches
- Severe wear and loosening of your teeth
- Chipping teeth
- Gum recession, and sensitive teeth
- Grooves on root surfaces
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD)
If you have a stiff jaw with discomfort or pain, you might have problems with the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, which is a type of temporomandibular disorder, abbreviated to TMD. You could have pain when you talk, eat and open your mouth. At North Fresno Dental Care, we are able to provide a thorough exam to determine whether you have TMJ and offer appropriate treatment to restore function and make your life more comfortable.
At our dental office, we are able to provide numerous solutions for jaw problems and pain. We start with simpler solutions before progressing to more intensive treatments. With less severe cases, we begin with teaching you about treatment suggestions you can perform yourself at home. For example, we can help you stop grinding your teeth through interventions.
If you're suffering from pain in your jaw joint, call us at (559) 437-0553 to make an appointment for a thorough exam.