Jaw pain is an extremely common dental concern that our patients deal with every day. As your trusted restorative dentist in Atlanta, GA, we wanted to provide you with some comprehensive information on your jaw pain, how you can manage it at home, and when to seek treatment for it. Here is some helpful information on your jaw pain:
Understanding Jaw Pain
Most jaw pain is the result of a TMJ disorder or an issue with the temporomandibular joint of your jaw. This joint connects the temporal bone of the skull and the lower mandible of the jaw and supports your jaw bone while it performs daily tasks like chewing and speaking. When this joint is under excessive amounts of tension, patients may experience a variety of symptoms including jaw pain, headaches, earaches, or a popping sound whenever they open or close their mouths.
Sources of Jaw Pain
There are many reasons why someone might develop jaw pain. Under stressful circumstances, many people hold their stress in their jawbone. This may come about as teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Over time, this added tension wears down your jawbone and can also cause damage to your teeth as well.
Other sources of jaw pain include missing teeth, damaged teeth, or misaligned teeth. Any dental issues that interfere with how your mouth functions during daily tasks can cause jaw pain. This is because your teeth, gums, and jawbone are all meant to work together to help you chew and speak. If something is messing up your typical bite pattern, this puts added pressure on your dental structures and presents as jaw pain.
What You Can Do
Jaw pain can have debilitating effects on patients’ daily lives. Not only is it uncomfortable but it is also distracting and hard to ignore. The best thing to do when you are experiencing jaw pain is to contact Proud Smiles. Through a unique and gentle examination, Dr. Paulen will assess the mechanics of your bite and recommend various treatment options to relieve whatever stresses might be found. In many cases, Dr. Paulen may recommend the use of a muscle deprogrammer or centric relation splint. This removable dental device can be worn at your leisure to help relax your facial muscles, helping relieve some of your symptoms.
There are also some simple things you can do at home if you are currently experiencing jaw pain. A cold compress to the jaw or cheek will help reduce any facial swelling or inflammation. Additionally, patients are encouraged to practice mindfulness and to take several breaks throughout the day to relax their facial muscles and stretch their jaw muscles around. If you struggle with holding your stress in your jaw, leave yourself small reminders to unclench your jaw, relax your facial muscles, and take a few deep breaths before returning to your task.
Schedule An Appointment
At Proud Smiles in Sandy Springs, Dr. Brenda Paulen and her staff work with you as a partner to develop a personalized plan to achieve your oral and dental health goals while incorporating a strong focus on your overall health. If you experience frequent jaw pain, please schedule an appointment with our compassionate team. We look forward to seeing you soon.