Pain isn’t fun, is it? Let’s face it, most of use will do whatever it takes to avoid pain.
Jaw and mouth pain is particularly horrible because it inhibits our enjoyment of eating and drinking. And that can lead to nutritional problems if we avoid certain foods, or digestive problems from less chewing.
If you find yourself experiencing jaw pain, you do have several treatment options available, depending on what is causing your pain. Here’s an overview of some of the most common causes of jaw pain and how you can find relief.
Many people grind or clench their teeth during sleep. This can cause a host of problems for your mouth.
The problem is that most people don’t know what their bodies are doing while they are sleeping, so grinding and clenching can go undiagnosed for quite some time.
These activities, which are called bruxism, don’t only cause pain. They can wear down your teeth over time, even resulting in chips and breaks.
If the grinding is due to misalignment, orthodontic treatment can help to stop it. You may also find comfort by wearing a mouth guard at night to keep the teeth separated (a custom-fitted dental appliance is the most comfortable solution!)
Although most people associate arthritis with the joints in the hands, it can strike anywhere in your body, including your jaw.
In addition, the swelling that arthritis creates can sometimes force your teeth out of proper alignment. This creates even more pain and discomfort.
If arthritis is the cause of your jaw pain, ask your doctor about treatment options for the condition. Having your teeth straightened early in life, can also help to prevent arthritis in the jaw.
Stress is another common cause of jaw pain as many people inadvertently clench their jaws when they are under stress. You may be aware of this issue, even if it’s unconscious.
This is when you clench your teeth during day, which is often an unconscious response to stress. This constant clenching results in pain to the joints and muscles in your jaw and can often lead to headaches as well.
Try practising relaxation exercises, like meditation or deep breathing, to help you loosen up. Andrew Johnson has some great relaxation aps for Android or iTunes, and he even has an MP3 for reducing bruxism!
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a malfunction of your jaw joint. It can be the result of crooked teeth, a misaligned bite, muscle tension or structural abnormalities.
It often creates a clicking or popping sensation in your jaw whenever you open or close your mouth. It can also cause your jaw to lock in place in more severe cases.
If you’ve ever tried taken a big bite out of an apple, and found your jaw momentarily locked open, you know what we’re talking about!
Braces and other orthodontic treatment methods can help to move your jaw into the proper position so that it functions optimally. This also reduces the likelihood of pain.
Get Relief at Gullotta Orthodontics
If you are suffering from jaw pain the expert orthodontists at Gullotta Orthodontics can help.
We’ll evaluate the current condition of your mouth and jaw so we can develop a treatment plan that meets your needs. Call us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation.