Countless individuals wake up every morning with jaw pain. Their temporomandibular joint is bothering them and they don’t know why. They just know it hurts and they want relief.
A dentist may not be the first place a person turns if you’ve got jaw pain. However, the dentist can be of great help in treating this common condition. Make an appointment today for jaw pain treatment.
What Causes Jaw Pain?
The temporomandibular joint connects the skull and jawbone. When a problem develops within this joint, the person experiences pain in either the joint or the muscles that control its movement.
Doctors often struggle to find a cause for the pain. It may be the result of genetics or it could appear following a jaw injury. People rarely stop to think the jaw can get arthritis just like any other joint in the body. That might be the source of the pain.
People who clench or grind their teeth are prone to jaw pain, although not everyone who does so develops this condition. Often, the pain is temporary. However, in certain cases, surgery becomes necessary.
Symptoms of a Temporomandibular Joint Problem
A person may experience several symptoms when they have a problem with the temporomandibular joint. Pain could be felt in the jaw, the face, or the ears. Some people develop headaches similar to migraines, while others notice their face swells. Any pain or pressure behind the eyes might be attributed to a TMJ disorder.
Certain people hear a clicking or popping sound when they open or close their mouths. Other people, however, say their jaw feels like it is locked into place or out of joint somehow. At times, the muscles of the jaw feel sore or tender. Regardless of what symptoms a person is experiencing, a dentist can help.
How a Dentist May Treat TMJ Pain
Home treatments, such as eating soft foods or using moist heat, often help to relieve the symptoms. However, a person may find this isn’t enough and they need help from a dentist. What might the dentist do to relieve the symptoms?
Some dentists use transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to treat TMJ pain. They use low-level electrical currents to relax the joint and facial muscles. This treatment may occur in the dentist’s office or the dentist could send a unit home with the patient.
Ultrasound treatments and physical therapy are often used together to treat stiff or sore joints. This deep heat helps relieve the pain. However, the dentist might recommend acupuncture or trigger-point injections. The injections contain pain medicine or an anesthetic and target tender facial muscles. Once the muscles are numb, the patient exercises the muscles in the jaw to stretch them.
As a last resort, a dentist may recommend surgery. They only do so when other treatments haven’t provided relief. In addition, if the patient experiences problems with the functioning of the jaw, surgery might be necessary.
Individuals who have jaw pain as a result of trauma might need surgery. The same holds when they have a degenerative disease. Other methods won’t be of help to these patients.
Speak with a dentist today to learn about TMJ pain treatments. Dentists work with patients every day to relieve this pain and base the treatment on the unique needs of the individual. This provides the relief a person needs when they suffer from this common and painful condition.