Do you know that sometimes problems with your jaw or bite can cause symptoms that seem completely unrelated?
For example, persistent headaches, migraines, a stiff neck, jaw aches and pains, or even worn and broken teeth can all be signs of jaw issues. That’s why, when your dentist asks you questions about your health that may seem irrelevant to your teeth or gums, we are actually making sure there aren’t other things going on. So, what could be the problems?
What’s that? Occlusion is the word used for the way the teeth meet when you bite together. If they don’t quite fit together properly, we call this malocclusion and it may cause some of the side effects like headaches and an achy jaw. Why so?
Well, teeth that are out of alignment can wear down unevenly and cause tenderness when biting together. In these cases, patients often suffer with TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) problems, which is where the jaw joints click or grate, often during sleep. This grinding can also cause further tooth wear and muscle pain, sore joints and even a ringing sound in the ears.
Many people clench or grind their teeth, often due to stress or anxiety. While this usually happens during sleep, it can also occur during high levels of concentration. Most people won’t even realise they are doing it, so if you are under pressure and notice frequent headaches or neck or shoulder pain, do tell your dentist at your next check-up.
What can we do?
The good news is that, in many cases there are a couple of treatment options available at Sparklysmile. The first is a custom-made bite guard that is worn at night. Your dentist will recommend how often to wear it and this can be very effective during times of stress when tooth grinding is most prevalent. Rebuilding worn teeth with simple tooth coloured materials bonded to your teeth may also help. And for some patients, carefully applied muscle relaxant to slightly relax the jaw muscle can reduce your symptoms.
If you think you may be suffering from jaw or bite issues, get in touch with us today on 020 8852 0442 to book a check up.