Many people visit the dentist not for pain in their teeth or gums, but for pain in their jaws. Does jaw pain signify a problem that requires the services of a dental care professional? You bet it does! While it isn't always the case, jaw pain could be caused by Temporomandibular Disorders, or TMD, also known as TMJ. TMJ is signified by pain in the jaw, around the ear, and clicking or popping noises in the jaw when one opens his or her mouth. TMJ can also result in frequent headaches and what appears to be a frequent sore neck.
Your lower jaw is called your mandible. The mandible along with muscles, two joints, and ligaments are responsible for opening and closing your mouth, and even aid in chewing and swallowing. The two joints are referred to as the TMJs. When the mandible isn't working properly with the TMJs, this results in a big problem, even though it seems fairly mild.
A dentist must confirm or negate the existence of a temporomandibular disorder. This is usually done with x-rays and an exam. However, you will be happy to note that not all jaw pain is the result of this type of disorder. It could be something as simple as a bad tooth or a sinus infection causing the jaw pain. Treatment for temporomandibular disorders vary.
Your dentist may recommend muscle relaxers, as well as stress reducing techniques, since some temporomandibular problems can be caused by grinding the teeth. The problem could also be caused by an injury, or by arthritis. The bite of your teeth could even be the culprit. There are many different possibilities for the actual cause. The only way to find out for sure is to visit your dental health care expert to pinpoint the cause of the pain.
It could be that your dentist is unable to find the problem, in which case he will refer you to a medical doctor. To find a qualified dentists, you must do your research. Check with the Board in your local area that licenses dentists. Once you have made a short list, go an meet those dentists in person. You will get a sense immediately with respect to the office, the staff, the appearance, professionalism and quality of the office.
Make sure that you ask for references. If the dentist is unwilling to provide any references, then I would move on to the next dentist.
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