If you experienced jaw pain and headaches throughout the past couple months, it’s likely you wrote it off as tension from the bustle of the holiday season — the crowded shopping malls, the hectic schedule of get-togethers. But what if the discomfort has continued even though the holidays are now over? It’s time to find out whether a TMJ disorder is the underlying issue so that you can find a solution to the pain.
A TMJ disorder is used to describe dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects your jaw to the skull. Many times, stress-induced bruxism (or teeth grinding) at night contributes to a TMJ disorder.
At Bell Dental Group, we’re able to assess your individual case to help you get an accurate diagnosis. And if you are indeed living with a TMJ disorder, we can provide a solution in the form of an oral appliance!
Don’t let migraines and jaw pain get you down. If you’re looking for relief in Cincinnati, OH, give us a call at 513-802-9440 to schedule a consultation.
What Are The Symptoms Of A TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorders can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms often overlap with other complications. That’s why it’s important to seek the advise of a professional if you’re exhibiting the following symptoms:
- A tired feeling in your face
- Suddenly feeling as if your upper and lower teeth don’t fit together properly
- Facial swelling
- A popping or grating sensation or sound when you open or close your mouth
- A jaw that seems to get stuck in the open or closed position
- Difficulty opening your mouth wide
What Causes A TMJ Disorder?
Scientists aren’t certain what causes a TMJ disorder, but we do know some things that tend to trigger the discomfort. If you’ve suffered a injury to your neck or the muscles and joints near the sides of your face, it’s possible that it can disrupt proper function of the temporomandibular joint.
Stress can also aggravate the joint, particularly if the stress causes you to grind your teeth or clench your jaw at night. Many times, patients come to Bell Dental Group unaware that they grind their teeth at night until one of our dentists tells them their teeth have noticeable wear! Though bruxism is often caused by stress and anxiety, it can be caused by a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, so it’s important to get this checked out.
How Are TMJ Disorders Treated?
At Bell Dental Care, we’ll work with you to get to the root of the problem and go from there. In most cases, we can relieve the unpleasant symptoms of a TMJ disorder with a simple mouthguard. You’ll just pop it in before bedtime, and it’ll prevent jaw clenching and teeth grinding so you can wake up pain-free.
Sometimes, we might recommend medication to help you get the most out of your treatment.
And in some cases, dental work might actually be the key to alleviating your jaw pain. By replacing missing teeth with dental implants, dental crowns, or dental bridges, we can adjust your bite to ease and eradicate the discomfort.
What Can I Do In The Meantime To Alleviate Jaw Pain?
There are some things you can do at home to ease the pain, but keep in mind that they’re only temporary fixes. Some over-the-counter medications, such as naproxen or ibuprofen, can help reduce any muscle pain and swelling you may be experiencing.
You can also:
- Apply heat or a cold pack to the side of your face. This can help relieve both swelling and muscle pain. Apply an ice pack to the side of your face for about 10 minutes. Follow it up with a warm washcloth for about five minutes.
- Watch what you eat. Chewy, hard, and sticky foods force your jaw to work hard. If your jaw is sore, try taking it easy for a couple days. Stick to soft foods like yogurt, scrambled eggs, and beans.
- Practice good posture. This can reduce tension (and thus pain) in the neck and face.
- Try relaxation techniques to prevent teeth clenching and muscle tension. Exercises like diaphragmatic breathing and alternating muscle tension and relaxation can really help.
- Keep your teeth slightly apart during the day. By not biting down, you’ll relieve pressure on your jaw.
Let’s Work Together To Relieve Jaw Pain
If you’re ready to relieve jaw pain and migraines so you can live a happier and healthier life, consult with the experts at Bell Dental Group. We’ll work quickly to get you an accurate diagnosis so we can quickly find the solution that’s right for you.