Have you been waking up with headaches, and feeling unrested? Maybe you have noticed a popping sound when you open your mouth wide, or a ringing in your ears. Are your teeth suddenly extra sensitive to cold foods and beverages? These may seem like unrelated annoyances, but they are actually common symptoms of temporal mandibular joint dysfunction, or TMJ for short. No oral pain should be ignored or dismissed. Instead you should learn how your dentist could help.
When it comes to your dental health, there are no home remedies that actually help you cure chronic conditions. In the case of jaw pain, for instance, the discomfort typically results from an issue with the alignment of your jaw and/or teeth, or a discrepancy with your jaw joints and muscles. Fortunately, some people may be able to find temporary relief for chronic jaw pain with these few tips. However, that pain is likely to come back soon, and stronger, if you don’t seek a professional jaw assessment and treatment (if necessary) from your dentist.
A Few Tips for Jaw Pain
- Try to relax your jaw muscles – Jaw pain is often the result of stress, which can manifest itself as constant tension in your jaw muscles. Try to relax them by gently massaging the muscles on both sides, or by applying a heating pad to each alternatively. As the muscles loosen, your jaw pain should temporarily subside.
- Stop chewing on things that aren’t food – If you have a habit of biting on pens or pencils or anything else as you think, or as a nervous tic, then stop. Chewing on things that aren’t food only taxes your jaw muscles, causing them to become exhausted.
- Try an OTC pain reliever – For severe pain, you may try an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol or Aspirin, to take the edge off of it. However, if your pain has become severe, then it may be even more imperative that you schedule a consultation with your dentist as soon as possible.
What Can Be Done to Help?
There are a number of potential causes of TMJ disorders, some more obvious than others. If you’ve suffered an injury to your jaw or chin, for instance, it could have caused problems with your jaw’s alignment. In some cases, however, patients’ poor teeth alignment can actually be the cause of jaw pains.
Habitual teeth grinding, chronic clenching of your jaw muscles, or arthritis are other common causes for TMJ. The good news is that regardless of the cause of your jaw discomfort, treatment can help. Depending on the severity of your case, treatment may be relatively minor, for instance wearing a mouth guard as you sleep, to keep your jaw in better alignment and prevent any bruxism, or nighttime teeth grinding. For other patients, more extensive treatment may be necessary, potentially including orthodontic treatment. During a consultation, your dentist can discuss your concerns and recommend a treatment plan that can alleviate your discomfort, and help improve your sleep.
Perhaps we can help give you Relief for Jaw Pain
Aside from providing dependable general and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from the Greater Chicago Metro Area and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at 847-234-0517.