Many patients visit our office to get treated for their jaw pain. As your trusted dentist in Toledo, OH, we wanted to provide some more information on what causes jaw pain and how we treat it at our dental practice. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding jaw pain:
What causes jaw pain?
There are many different things that can cause jaw pain. Most patients experience jaw pain if they have a history of teeth grinding or clenching their jaw due to stress. These repetitive actions put irregular amounts of pressure on your dental structures and can cause pain over time. Additionally, a missing tooth, crooked teeth, or misaligned bite pattern can cause jaw pain as well. Anything that interferes with how your dental structures and facial muscles perform daily tasks like chewing or speaking can eventually lead to jaw pain.
What is a TMJ disorder?
Often, patients with jaw pain are diagnosed with a TMJ disorder. This means that their jaw pain stems from damage or inflammation of the temporomandibular joint of your jaw. This joint connects the temporal bone of the skull and the lower mandible of the jaw and is essential in performing daily tasks like chewing and speaking. Symptoms of a TMJ disorder include jaw pain, soreness in the neck or shoulders, tension headaches, earaches, or a popping and clicking sound when opening or closing your mouth.
Are TMJ disorders treatable by a dentist?
Yes, TMJ disorders can be treated by a dentist. The experienced dentists at Hires Dental Care take a comprehensive approach to all patients. We seek to understand the underlying cause of your TMJ disorder before recommending a treatment plan to address symptoms. Some treatment options include splint therapy, mouthguards, orthodontics, or occlusal equilibration.
My jaw hurts right now. What should I do?
A cold compress to the jawbone or cheek can help reduce inflammation and facial swelling when experiencing jaw pain. Additionally, you should avoid eating crunchy foods or chewing gum while experiencing jaw pain. We recommend leaving yourself reminders throughout the day to relax your facial muscles and stretch your jaw around to avoid any tension buildup that could eventually cause pain. Above all, you should schedule an appointment with Hires Dental Care if you are experiencing jaw pain. Our compassionate team will perform a thorough exam and discuss your medical history to identify the underlying cause in order to recommend appropriate, lasting treatment.