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Jaw Pain & Headaches

Jaw pain or pain in the jaw joint (TMJ) is most frequently the result of inflammation within the joint or muscle. The temporomandibular joint is the joint in our face that connects our jaw to the bones in our skull. TMD is the disorder that refers to problems in the muscles and jaw.

Pain in the jaw has many symptoms and it is best to get a thorough exam at your dentist’s office. Generally, people feel either a sudden pain that grows in intensity, a small but continuous throbbing or even a small pain that starts in the jaw area and leads to headaches. Finding exactly what is causing the many different symptoms that are occurring is the first step in finding a solution to this problem. Some reasons for jaw pain are:

  • Grinding your teeth – this is most likely done while you are sleeping, but many people grind or clench their teeth on and off all day and don’t even realize it. The world is a stressful place and grinding your teeth can cause a lot of damage if left unchecked. It is without question a leading cause of jaw pain. The solution is often as simple as wearing a bite plate at night which is sculpted to provide a perfect bite in harmony with a healthy jaw position. Sometimes it is beneficial to move the teeth with braces or change the bite with dental restorations. Call for an examination and we will determine the cause for you. We recommend starting with the simple, conservative option of a bite plate for most patients.
  • Dental problems – many severe dental conditions can lead to jaw pain or headaches. Even though they don’t directly affect those areas. An abscessed tooth, gum disease, or a severe cavity can generate pain to many different areas of the face and head.
  • Osteomyelitis – this infection can directly affect the jaw causing swelling pain and individuals usually run a fever. Generally this can be treated by an antibiotic.
  • TMD – as we mentioned earlier is the term for disorders in the temporomandibular joint. People with this disorder can sometimes hear clicking or popping when opening or closing their mouth. They can experience pain when opening their mouth. Other associated factors with TMD can include tinnitus, dizziness, neck, tooth pain and acute stress. With so many causes for TMD, it is best to get diagnosed by a professional.

We use the muscles and joints around our jaw constantly. If you are experiencing any pain, whether in the jaw area, neck or shoulders, hear popping when you chew your food, if your jaw locks in an open or closed position on occasion, any unexplained headaches or swelling; TMD can be the problem.

Dr. Thompson’s approach to TMD (Jaw Joint and Muscle Disorders) is a conservative one that will not require any procedures that invade tissues of the face, joints or jaw. This method is highly recommended by experts in the field.

Self-care at home that may ease symptoms; ice, moist heat, eating softer foods or trying to avoid any large jaw movements. All of these may ease the pain.

Make a visit to Kierland Dental Center if your pain persists and seek the help of a professional. This would be your next best option.

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