Jaw pain is a common dental concern that we treat in our office. Not only is jaw pain uncomfortable to experience, but it can also be a symptom of underlying issues with your dental structures. As your trusted restorative dentist in Severna Park, MD, we wanted to provide some additional information on jaw pain, what causes it, and how it can be treated. Here are answers to frequently asked questions regarding jaw pain.
What causes jaw pain?
Jaw pain can be caused by a variety of issues. Most patients experience jaw pain after dealing with stress or anxiety, causing them to clench their jaw or hold stress in their facial muscles. Additionally, patients who have a history of grinding their teeth often develop jaw pain later on in life. Jaw pain can also occur due to tooth decay, infection, facial trauma, or a misaligned bite pattern. There are so many reasons why a patient might be experiencing jaw pain. This is why it is so important to seek professional help from a trusted dentist if you suspect you are dealing with this dental concern.
What is a TMJ disorder?
It is estimated that 35 million adults suffer from TMJ Disorders. TMJ is the term widely in use when referring to temporomandibular disorders, or jaw pain that is caused by irritation or damage to the temporomandibular joint or surrounding tissue. Patients with TMJ disorders experience symptoms like jaw pain, clicking or popping noises when opening or closing their mouth, tension headaches, earaches, sore facial muscles, or locked jaw. If you experience any of these symptoms, we recommend mentioning this at your next dental appointment.
Can TMJ disorders be treated?
Yes, there are treatment options for TMJ disorders. Our practice offers TMJ therapy to patients suffering from jaw pain. However, because the causes for TMJ disorder vary person-to-person, each treatment plan is individualized to a patient’s needs. Some of our treatment plans include the use of mouth guards or splints to hold the jaw in a healthier resting position while you sleep. Other treatment plans may include the use of orthodontics to correct problems or misalignment in your bite patterns. Restorative dentistry is also often a good solution for treating TMJ disorders if it is determined that your jaw pain is being caused by a missing or broken tooth.
I am experiencing jaw pain right now. What should I do?
At home, we recommend patients practicing mindfulness throughout the day to help relieve the tension held in their jaw. Take several breaks while working to stretch your jaw around and relax your facial muscles. Avoid excessively crunchy or chewy foods while experiencing jaw pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to reduce discomfort. Above all, the best thing you can do for your jaw pain is to schedule an appointment for a TMJ consultation. Our team can work with you to alleviate your symptoms and restore function to your smile. We look forward to seeing you soon.