How to Fix Your Jaw Pain
Jaw pain is a very common complaint and most people just ignore it in the hopes that it will go away. But there’s a new treatment option at your dentist that can alleviate the pain of this condition and let you get on with your life. So if you suffer from this annoying condition, make sure you discuss your options with your friendly dentist.
What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder and this is a relatively non-serious condition that causes problems with the jaw. The jaw is an extremely complex joint that needs to move in a variety of ways, and sometimes the hinge connecting the top and lower parts of the jaw doesn’t work correctly. This problem can cause a variety of annoying and painful symptoms that can decrease the quality of your life.
If you have TMJ, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Pain around the jaw
- Pain in front of the ear, cheek or temple
- Strange noises such as clicking or popping when you chew
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Ear pain or other strange symptoms such as noise or a blocked feeling
- Pain in related areas such as the neck or back.
What Causes TMJ?
The exact causes of TMJ aren’t fully understood, but the following can lead to the condition:
- Teeth grinding
- Poor posture
- Injury to the teeth or jaw
- Chewing gum
- Misalignment of the teeth or jaw
Although TMJ isn’t a serious or life threatening condition, it still needs to be treated. The pain and discomfort it can cause can have a negative effect on your everyday activities such as eating or drinking, and may even restrict your food choices. In addition, the noises the jaw makes can be annoying and embarrassing, and because it affects your ears it can even negatively impact your hearing.
Your dentist will usually treat TMJ using a variety of treatments including orthodontics. This will help to correct your bite and alleviate the pain of this condition. Typically, these treatments involve orthotics and splints that cradle the jaw in the right position and allow it to heal correctly. These types of treatments can take up to 3 months to work, but most people experience excellent results from them.
Injectables and TMJ
If you suffer from severe pain because of TMJ your doctor may recommend injecting Botox into the jaw. This can help to reduce tension in the jaw, increase mouth movements, and alleviate the headaches caused by TMJ. Botox is usually used when other methods to control the symptoms of TMJ have failed. When injected into the muscles of the jaw, Botox causes a partial paralysis of the area and lessens the stress on the jaw. This doesn’t remove your ability to chew of course, it just changes the way you do it. There are some potential side effects to this treatment, so make sure you talk to your dentist and understand all of your options before you try it.
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