Jaw pain is a common dental concern that we treat in our dental office. As your trusted restorative dentist in Greeley, CO, we wanted to take some time to answer your frequently asked questions regarding this topic. Here are some answers to the most asked questions on jaw pain:
Why does my jaw hurt?
There is no single cause for jaw pain. The most common causes of jaw pain that we see are stress, facial trauma, or issues with your bite pattern. Most jaw pain is the result of added tension applied to the temporomandibular joint of your jaw. This is the joint that connects the temporal bone of the skull and the lower mandible of the jaw. It supports your jawbone during daily tasks like chewing and speaking. When this joint becomes overworked or inflamed, patients often experience jaw pain associated with a TMJ disorder.
What is a TMJ disorder?
When it is determined that the source of your jaw pain is the temporomandibular joint of your jaw, we will diagnose you with a TMJ disorder. Symptoms of this disorder include jaw pain, tension headaches, earaches, or facial soreness. In a healthy patient, the jaw opens smoothly with no resistance or pain. For a patient with a TMJ disorder, their jawbone may make clicking or popping noises when they open and close their mouth.
Are TMJ disorders treatable?
Yes, they are treatable, though the treatment plans are individualized depending on the underlying causes of each patients’ jaw pain. If it is determined that a missing, broken, or crooked tooth is throwing off your bite pattern, restorative dentistry can help in realigning your bite pattern. Additionally, a custom-fitted splint or night guard can be made to help relax the jaw as you sleep. This ensures that you are waking up with fully-rested facial muscles. More aggressive therapies or surgical options may be necessary as well.
What can I do at home to help relieve my jaw pain?
A cold compress to the jawbone can help reduce inflammation and facial swelling caused by jaw pain. Patients who experience frequent jaw pain should leave themselves several reminders throughout the day to relax their facial muscles and stretch their jaw around while performing especially stressful tasks. It’s important to be mindful of if you are holding your stress in your jawbone and try not to do that as much as possible. Eating softer snacks throughout the day can also help reduce jaw pain, as crunchy snacks only apply additional stress to your mouth muscles.
Schedule An Appointment
Dr. Benson exercises a conservative approach to treating TMJ disorder and seeks to diagnose and address the underlying cause for long term results. He has extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of bite-related disorders such as TMJ and looks forward to helping you relieve your jaw pain. Schedule an appointment today for a TMJ consultation. We look forward to seeing you soon.