Anyone who suffers from jaw pain knows how debilitating it can be. The sufferer may find they cannot eat or speak without extreme discomfort. Fortunately, treatments are available, but the treatment depends on the severity of the pain and the cause.
Some people find they need nothing more than an ice pack. Other individuals, however, require surgery. Any person experiencing jaw pain should make an appointment with their dentist to find the source of the pain and come up with a treatment plan. Relief may only be one dental visit away.
Signs of a Jaw Problem
Jaw pain comes in many forms. Some people find the jaw or the temporomandibular joints are painful or tender. For some individuals, a problem with this joint leads to pain in and around the ear or the face aches. Chewing might be painful or difficult, or the person might find their jaw locks, and they struggle to open or close the mouth.
Causes of Jaw Pain
Many things can bring about jaw pain. The temporomandibular joint allows the jaw to move in a variety of ways. When a problem develops within this joint or in the surrounding area, the person experiences pain.
At times, this pain only lasts for a short period. It may come and go or it might get progressively worse. Often, the pain is accompanied by a clicking sound when the joint moves.
A dislocated joint might lead to this pain. However, it could be the teeth and jaws aren’t properly aligned or the person might suffer from arthritis. When a person grinds or clenches their teeth, they are more prone to jaw pain. People who are stressed and have a lot of muscle tension might also find they suffer from jaw pain.
The cause of this joint pain might never be determined. A previous jaw injury may be the source, or it could be genetics. The dentist may need to try several treatments to find the ones that provide relief for the patient.
Treating Joint Pain
Moist heat and ice packs often provide relief from jaw pain. Many people turn to over-the-counter pain relievers, and massaging the joint may also help ease the pain.
Dentists often recommend lifestyle changes to reduce pain. Yoga and meditation help those whose pain is brought on by stress. The dentist will recommend avoiding caffeine and chewy foods because they can both make the pain worse. In addition, the dentist might recommend certain exercises to reduce pain.
If these lifestyle changes and home remedies don’t resolve the pain issue, the dentist may create a custom-fit mouthguard to stop tooth grinding. Muscle relaxers and Botox injections are other treatments the dentist might recommend. When all else fails, the person may undergo surgery to correct structural problems in the jaw.
Preventing Jaw Pain
Caring for the teeth and gums is the easiest way to prevent jaw pain. Misaligned teeth contribute to jaw pain. Seek treatment to align the teeth, as this will often lead to jaw pain disappearing. Any cavities can bring about pain in the jaw, and the same holds for gum inflammation. See a dentist to correct broken or missing teeth, as they may be a source of this pain also.
A person should never live with jaw pain when help is available. Make an appointment with a dentist today to discuss this pain and possible treatments. Take the first step toward a life without jaw pain. Help is never more than a phone call away.