Jaw pain is one of the most common symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). For minor instances of jaw pain, it is often reasonable to take care of it at home, but if the pain is severe, lasts a long time, or recurs, it is best to see a neuromuscular dentist to learn what could be causing it.
Dr. Kent White stands out from other dentists in the Nashville, Tennessee area because of his extensive and varied training, as well as his compassionate and caring holistic dentistry approach.
To learn whether neuromuscular dentistry can help with your jaw pain, please call (615) 383-6787 for an appointment at the Center for Advanced Dentistry in Nashville, TN.
Home Care for Jaw Pain
Most cases of jaw pain can easily be treated at home. To treat the pain, try using over-the-counter pain medications, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen.
You can also try resting your jaw. Avoid eating hard or crunchy foods for a while, and stop chewing on nonfood items, including ice and chewing gum.
If stress contributes to jaw tension or teeth clenching, try relaxation techniques that can reduce your stress level.
Studies have also shown that applying heat to your jaw can help alleviate the pain.
When You Should Seek Professional Help
Home care isn’t suitable for all cases of jaw pain. So how do you know when you should talk to a doctor or neuromuscular dentist? Seek professional help if jaw pain:
- Is not controlled adequately by over-the-counter medications
- Prevents you from sleeping or functioning normally
- Lasts seven days or more
- Recurs more than twice
- Gets worse under home care
- Is accompanied by other TMJ symptoms
All of these signs mean that your jaw pain is potentially related to TMJ and may not get better without professional care.
Types of Jaw Pain Related to TMJ
There are several different types of jaw pain that are associated with TMJ. The most common and treatable type is muscle pain. Typically this type of pain is characterized as a dull, throbbing pain. Usually, this type of pain will be worse after you have given your jaw a workout, either by chewing hard foods, talking a lot, or clenching your jaw.
Jaw joint pain is related to the displacement of the cushioning disc in the jaw joint. This can contribute to painful grinding bones and pressure on tissues not designed to take it.
Jaw nerve pain is the least common type of jaw pain, and the hardest to treat. In this pain, nerves in your jaw are experiencing pressure from your jaws or jaw muscles. It can cause sharp, stabbing, electric pains. Or it can cause numbness or tingling in your jaws. Incidentally, this is how TMJ contributes to migraines: putting pressure on the trigeminal nerve, the trigger point for migraines.
If you would like to learn whether TMJ is responsible for your jaw pain, please call (615) 383-6787 for an appointment with Dr. Kent White at the Center for Advanced Dentistry today.