Today's tooth news is coming a little late and it's not entirely about teeth. You've heard people say they have "TMJ." (Remember when Miranda talks about her TMJ when she gets braces?) Well to tell you the truth, everyone has a TMJ--temporomandibular joint. It's the joint that connects your bottom jaw to your skull. The problem comes in when people are diagnosed with "TMD"--temporomandibular disorder.
Lots of things can make your jaw joint flare up and these flare ups can actually get confused for tooth pain or mask some muscular issues. Stress, clenching, grinding, sinus issues, and dental infections all contribute to aches and pains in front of your ears and up to your temples & forehead.
This past week I've been having issues with my own TMJ. I think that I have been subconsciously clenching my teeth because I'm so stressed out! I've probably been clenching during my sleep and during the day when I'm surfing the internet--err--working on patients. Brigid and I diagnosed/treatment planned my case today at lunch and so I'm going to take her advice and take some NSAIDS (like alieve) while wearing a mouth guard. The mouth guard will help me notice when I start to clench my teeth together and hopefully keep the teeth apart during sleep.
It's best to talk to your dentist about your specific symptoms if you feel that you are having TMJ problems. I'll let you know how my joint issues work themselves out....