Worried about an aching, painful jaw? Our Federal Way, WA, dentist, Dr. Todd Yoshino, shares a few causes of jaw pain and explains what you can do to relieve your painful symptoms.
A blow to the jaw can be very painful. Ice, over-the-counter pain medication and a soft diet for a few days may be helpful if your jaw muscles or ligaments have been sprained or strained. Trauma can also fracture or dislocate your jaw. These injuries require immediate treatment.
A bite problem
You have a bite problem when your upper and lower teeth don't line up correctly. Bite problems can make it difficult to chew and may strain your jaw joints, causing pain. Orthodontic treatment can correct the problem and ease your pain.
The things you do when you're asleep
Grinding or clenching your teeth at night can also strain your jaw. The constant pressure on your teeth may eventually wear away tooth enamel or crack teeth or fillings. Jaw pain may also occur if you have a habit of pressing your hands under your jaw while you sleep. A nightguard can protect your teeth from grinding or clenching, while you may be able to keep your hands away from your jaw if you hold a small pillow or other soft object while you sleep.
Pain in your jaw can sometimes be caused by migraines or cluster headaches or sinus infections. Treating the condition or illness that causes the pain is the key to reducing your symptoms.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)
TMD affects the hinge joints in your jaw and may be more likely to occur if you had a jaw injury, suffer from arthritis, have a bite problem or grind your teeth. In many cases, it's not possible to determine the cause of TMD.
Ice, heat, massage, a soft diet and stretching exercises may be helpful in reducing pain. If you believe that stress is a contributing factor, yoga, meditation or other stress relief techniques may be helpful. Call our Federal Way office if your symptoms continue. We'll examine your teeth and jaw, recommend treatments and make suggestions that will reduce your TMD symptoms. Many people who have TMD benefit from a custom-made oral appliance that fits over the teeth and reduces stress on the jaw joints.
Concerned about jaw pain? Call our Federal Way, WA, dentist, Dr. Yoshino, at (253) 815-0441 to schedule an appointment.