Jaw pain can be one of the most distracting and uncomfortable dental concerns that people deal with on a daily basis. As your trusted dentist office in Jacksonville, FL, Alexander Dentistry is committed to helping patients find the underlying issues causing their jaw pain and come up with a treatment solution to relieve their symptoms. We want to help our patients better understand their jaw pain. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding this topic:
What causes jaw pain?
There are many things that can cause jaw pain. Mostly, we see patients who have a longstanding history of unconsciously grinding their teeth together at night develop jaw pain later on. Additionally, if you hold a lot of your stress in your jaw throughout the day, you are likely to develop jaw pain. Patients who have a misaligned bite pattern or are missing one or more teeth can also develop jaw pain. Really anything that puts your dental structures under additional pressure and makes it more difficult to chew and speak can cause jaw pain. This is because your dental structures are designed to all work together, and when an element is compromised, you are more likely to experience painful symptoms as a result.
What is a TMJ disorder?
TMJ is the term widely used when referring to Temporomandibular Disorders. These complex group of disorders is characterized by jaw pain and limited mobility in the temporomandibular joint and surrounding tissue. Signs and symptoms of a TMJ disorder include jaw pain, neck pain, tension headaches, and popping or clicking noises when you open or close your mouth. Dr. Alexander has worked with many TMJ patients, giving him a library of cases to reference and compare to when creating a TMJ treatment plan.
What are my treatment options?
Your treatment options will largely be determined by what Dr. Alexander determines to be the underlying causes of your TMJ disorder or jaw pain. Often, mild to moderate TMJ disorders can be treated with a customized night guard or oral appliance therapy. This TMJ treatment option is designed to help hold your jaw in a healthier resting position as your sleep so that you wake up each morning with a well-rested jawbone. For more extreme cases, orthodontics, oral surgery, or other restorative dentistry options may be needed to help relieve your symptoms. However, when treating patients with TMJ Disorders, Dr. Alexander takes a conservative approach, avoiding major procedures and surgery whenever possible.
What can I do at home to help relieve my jaw pain?
Patients who struggle with jaw pain should leave themselves reminders to relax their facial muscles and stretch out their jawbone as often as possible. Take several breaks to move your jaw around as you are working on stressful projects. This will help release any tension that is being held in your jaw. Ibuprofen and a cold compress to the jawbone can help reduce inflammation or irritation surrounding your joints during a flare-up. Above all, the best thing you can do for your jaw pain is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Alexander.