Jaw Joint Pain
Jaw pain can have a big impact on your daily life as it affects the way you eat and speak. There are many causes of jaw pain. This means that it can be difficult to know if there is an issue with the jaw or if something else is causing the pain. The good news is that jaw joint pain can be treated.
Causes of Jaw Pain
Usually jaw pain is caused by an injury or abnormality in the joint of the jaw. Even though those are the most common there are some other causes which include:
- TMD (Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorder) – This disorder is one of the most common causes of pain. It can also be called TMJ as it affects the temporomandibular joints which are the hinges on either side of your jaw. A variety of things cause TMD and these include: injury, arthritis, over stimulation, teeth grinding, clenching of teeth and jaw joint trauma.
- Sinus Problems – If you have infected sinuses this can put pressure on the jaw which causes jaw joint pain.
- Cluster Headaches – This is a less common cause but can result in jaw pain. The headaches cause pain around the eye but this pain can travel to the jaw resulting in jaw joint pain.
- Tooth Pain – Dental abscesses are painful and then pain can travel to the jaw.
- Trigeminal Neuralgia – This is a condition caused compression of the nerves. This can cause pain in the lower and upper jaw.
What Are the Symptoms?
It may sound obvious what the symptoms are for joint pain however the conditions that cause the pain can bring with it extra symptoms. These may include:
- Facial pain
- Clicking in your jaw
- Popping when you move your jaw
- Ear pain
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Jaw stiffness
- Tender jaw joint
Treating Jaw Joint Pain
There a few ways to relieve the pain in the jaw joint. These include:
Immediate Relief – To relieve pain immediately you can apply a heat pack. You can apply this for around ten minutes and then take it off for ten minutes. A heat pack can help to relive pain and relax the jaw muscle. You can also take over the counter pain relief. Ibuprofen will help. To relieve tension in the jaw you can also massage the joint. You use your middle and index finger and rub in a circular motion where the jaw meets your ear.
Medical Treatment – Here are some of the treatments a dentist may offer. A mouth guard will protect the teeth and the jaw. If you grind your teeth this will be recommended. As it stops your from grinding/clenching the teeth the pressure on the jaw will be relieved. If the mouth guard does not work then you may be recommended muscle relaxers. These are used to relieve tension in the jaw. If none of these work then surgery may be recommended. If you need surgery your dentist will discuss this with you.
Lifestyle Changes – You can make changes to your lifestyle as a long term solution to jaw joint pain. There are some ways to reduce stress which reduce clenching of the jaw. Yoga and meditation are good for this. You should also try to avoid chewy foods as these put unnecessary strain on the jaw joint. Also try to cut down on caffeine as this will reduce muscle tension.
Jaw joint pain is not something you have to live with. The team at Painfree Dentistry can help. We can offer:
- A variety of treatments
- Guidance on lifestyle
- A team that cares
- Efficient and successful treatments
- Affordable prices