Dental Problems and Jaw Pain By Thomas G. Zarger Jr., D.D.S. on January 11, 2016

Illustration of a jaw x-rayAre you one of the millions of adults that suffer from chronic dental problems and jaw pain? While jaw pain can be caused by sinus problems or arthritis, it may also be caused by malocclusion or other dental issues. Pain in the jaw can stem from many causes, ranging from chronic teeth grinding to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, but rest assured, there’s treatment available to bring you relief. We offer a range of general dentistry services to diagnose and treat oral health problems. To identify the source of your dental problems and jaw pain, contact our Knoxville, TN practice today. We can run several tests to find out what is causing the discomfort.


Grinding your teeth is referred to as bruxism, and it can lead to tooth wear, cracking, or breakage. The grinding may be brought on by stress or anxiety or it may be the result of a bad bite. Either way, it can be destructive to your teeth and is a major source of jaw pain. Many people grind their teeth while they sleep, and wake up with experiencing discomfort in the jaw, teeth, or head. If you suffer from bruxism, especially in your sleep, a dentist can provide you with a custom fit mouth guard to wear at night. The guard keeps your upper and lower teeth from meeting, keeping them from grinding against each other.


Occlusion is a term that refers to a perfect bite. Unfortunately, most people do not have a naturally perfect bite. Malocclusion is often hereditary, so there is nothing the patient can do to prevent it. Malocclusion may be the result of naturally crowded teeth, missing teeth, or thumb sucking. Types of malocclusion include an overbite, in which the top teeth protrude beyond the bottom; or underbite, in which the bottom jaw protrudes. In some cases, the patient’s bite is normal, and malocclusion is the result of crooked or crowded teeth.

Typically, malocclusion is treated with dental braces. Significant advances have been made in the field of orthodontics, and it is now possible to wear removable, clear aligners that move your teeth into place. Other patients may require metal brackets and wires to correct tooth and jaw misalignment problems.

TMJ Syndrome

It is estimated that about ten million Americans are affected by this disorder. If you hear clicking and popping sounds when you open your mouth, wake up with a headache every morning, or suffer from chronic neck pain or earaches, you may have TMJ disorder. TMJ has many different symptoms, and affects each patient differently, which makes it difficult to diagnose. Scientists who study the disorder are still not sure what causes it, although they believe that malocclusion, stress, and bruxism may all be at least partly responsible. There many treatment options for TMJ, and your doctor can create a custom treatment plan for you. The treatments may range from taking prescription medications and replacing missing teeth, to orthodontics and mouth guards.

Contact Us for an Appointment

If you suffer from chronic pain in your jaw or wake up with a headache every morning, it is possible that you are one of the millions suffering from TMJ disorder, a common cause of jaw pain. Contact our dental office today for an appointment.

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Dr. Thomas G. Zarger, Jr., DDS Family Dentistry in Knoxville

Our practice has provided skilled and compassionate dentistry for patients in the Knoxville, TN, community for over 30 years. Dr. Zarger is a member of:

  • American Dental Association
  • Second District Dental Society
  • Tennessee Dental Association
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

We strive to make care convenient and affordable to all patients and accept CareCredit financing to help reduce the cost of treatment. Schedule your consultation today online, or by calling (865) 693-7631.

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