Get Help For Jaw Pain
Jaw pain can be an indicator of temporomandibular joint dysfunction, also known as TMJ/TMD. If you experience prolonged pain and discomfort in your jaw, you may be suffering from this condition, which can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. At St. Clair Tooth Co., Dr. Cassleman can help with TMJ/TMD treatment options in the St. Clair Shores area that relieve your pain and get you back to enjoying your daily life.
Understanding TMJ Dysfunction
The Basics Of TMJ/TMD
TMJ/TMD are used synonymously to refer to a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint. This small, delicate joint is located just below your ear and is responsible for connecting your jaw to your skull. This joint enables you to do things like open your mouth, chew, and speak with ease. If it becomes inflamed, knocked out of position, or infected, TMJ/TMD can result. TMJ/TMD usually has a number of different symptoms, including pain radiating from the jaw joint, soreness of the jaw muscles, headaches, and difficulty opening the jaw. You may even experience “clicking” or “popping” when moving your jaw. In extreme cases, your jaw may even become locked into a single position.
Each case of TMJ/TMD is unique since the condition can be caused by a number of different things. Jaw overuse from chewing too much gum, for example, could cause TMJ/TMD. Arthritis and other inflammatory or autoimmune disorders can also affect the temporomandibular joint, causing pain and discomfort. Another common cause of TMJ/TMD is trauma to the joint. If you slip and hit your head, for example, your joint could become inflamed and damaged. To understand the cause of your TMJ/TMD and get the treatment you need in St. Clair Shores, schedule an appointment at St. Clair Tooth Co. as soon as you can.
The treatment that is right for you will depend on the cause of your TMJ/TMD. Some minor cases of TMJ/TMD can be resolved with minor lifestyle changes and anti-inflammatory medications. However, more serious cases may require treatment with an “oral appliance,” which can reposition the jaw into a more healthy position and promote proper healing. Corticosteroid injections may also be recommended for patients with TMJ/TMD inflammation, to help the healing process. Orthodontic treatment may be required if an improper bite is causing TMJ/TMD. Surgical intervention is rare but is necessary in some cases where the temporomandibular joint has been severely damaged.
Common Signs of TMJ/TMD
When the joints or muscles in your jaw are inflamed, injured, or dysfunctional, it can cause a host of uncomfortable and debilitating symptoms, including:
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw
- Clicking/popping noises when opening your mouth
- Radiating facial pain to the ears
- Facial swelling
- A feeling of fatigue in the face
- Difficulty opening your mouth wide
- Misaligned bite
- Difficulty chewing
- Pain when eating
- Teeth grinding or clenching
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should come in for a consultation with Dr. Cassleman. She can assess your symptoms, examine your jaw, and take x-rays of your tissues to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
Temporary Jaw Pain Relief
Moist Heat - Moist heat is effective in relieving aches in the jaw as well as facial swelling. This helps your jaw to relax and increases your blood circulation. This can help relieve pain, reduce swelling, and improve mobility. You can use a wet hot towel or a heat pack.
Cold Packs - When the pain develops into a sharp jolt of pain rather than a constant ache, you’ll want to apply a cold compress for about 15 minutes. You should wrap it in a towel or something that can provide a barrier between the cool pack and your skin. This relieves inflammation and pain.
Eat Soft Foods - You should avoid eating hard, crunchy, and sticky foods. This will cause excessive strain and too much movement in the jaw which can exacerbate your symptoms. Sticking to a soft food diet for a while can reduce your symptoms. Foods like applesauce, pudding, mashed potatoes, and soup are appropriate foods that will give your jaw a rest.
Do Jaw Exercises - Certain jaw exercises and stretches can relieve jaw pain and stiffness. You should perform these exercises a few times a day, which will help increase your jaw mobility.
Relax - Clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth exacerbate symptoms of TMJ and lead to pain. Teeth grinding is often caused by excessive stress or anxiety, so you should try to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Try mindfulness meditation, yoga, or going to therapy.
Migraines & TMJ
Can TMJ Cause Migraines?
Yes, TMJ can make migraines worse. Having TMJ increases your chance of having a migraine by 60%, even if you didn’t previously get them. Because your temporomandibular joint is connected to your skull, dysfunction or pain in your jaw can radiate to your head. This is especially the case if you suffer from bruxism.
The pain and tension from clenching travel to your head, producing a headache or migraine. This is why it’s important to wear a mouthguard. You can relieve pain with anti-inflammatory pain medication. You should also set aside time to destress by taking a walk in nature or practicing calming breathing techniques.
GET HELP TODAY
CONTACT THE ST. CLAIR TOOTH CO. NOW
At St. Clair Tooth Co., Dr. Cassleman specializes in comprehensive dentistry and she will help you understand the causes of your TMJ/TMD and ensure that you get the proper treatment. If you are suffering from jaw pain, get the help you need right away. Contact us at (586) 404-4911, or stop by our office at 21321 Harper Ave, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080 to get started.