At our Lilburn, GA dentist office, we offer advanced solutions for patients facing complex dental concerns. One complex dental concern that many patients experience is jaw pain. Jaw pain is often the result of an untreated TMJ disorder. Learn the answers to frequently asked questions about jaw pain and TMJ treatment options below:
What causes jaw pain?
The source of jaw pain differs from patient to patient. Often, patients who experience jaw pain have a history of teeth grinding or jaw clenching. These actions, even if done unconsciously, can cause your jaw joints to become inflamed or even damaged over time. Additionally, patients with a misaligned bite pattern or missing teeth are at an increased risk for experiencing jaw pain. Your teeth are designed to work together when you are performing daily acts like chewing or speaking. Crooked teeth or missing teeth create unintended pressure points within your smile, impacting their effectiveness when performing these daily tasks. Simply put, any dental concern that adds tension or strain to your jaw joints on a daily basis is likely to cause jaw pain and may lead to the development of a TMJ disorder.
What is a TMJ disorder?
A TMJ disorder occurs when the temporomandibular joint, the main joint utilized when you are chewing and speaking, becomes inflamed or injured. When this occurs, you may experience symptoms like jaw pain, tension headaches, earaches, shoulder pain, or a popping or clicking sound when you open or close your mouth. TMJ symptoms can range in severity and frequency. There are many potential issues that could effect the jaw joint, muscles in the face, neck, and surrounding nerves. This is why it’s important to tell your dentist as soon as possible about these symptoms.
What are my treatment options for TMJ?
Treatment options for TMJ disorders will vary based on the underlying concern causing your symptoms. For example, if your history of teeth grinding or jaw clenching is causing your TMJ symptoms, our office offers oral appliance therapy to manage your symptoms. Oral appliance therapy provides patients with a custom nightguard meant to hold your jaw in a healthier resting position while you wear it. If you are suffering from a misaligned bite pattern or crooked teeth, we may suggest orthodontic options. If missing teeth are the source of your pain, we also offer tooth replacement options in our Lilburn, GA dentist office. Rest assured, we will treat your pain at the source.
My jaw hurts right now. What can I do?
If you are experiencing TMJ symptoms and want to learn more about your treatment options, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our Lilburn, GA dentist office. Over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen can help manage your jaw pain. Additionally, holding a cold compress to the affected can help reduce swelling and inflammation. If you are struggling from teeth grinding or jaw clenching, try some gentle jaw stretches to work out the tension in your facial muscles. Patients should avoid eating excessively crunchy or chewy foods while experiencing jaw pain, as intensive chewing will only create more tension on your joints.