Pain can develop in a person’s jaw due to any number of everyday activities, such as chewing on a piece of steak that is too tough or tensing up during a heated argument. However, if you are regularly experiencing pain in your jaw that never seems to go away, you might have what is known as temporomandibular disorder. This condition, which is commonly referred to as TMJ, causes pain in the joint and muscles around the jaw.
If you have persistent or worsening jaw pain, you might have TMJ. Below is a list of some of the most common signs of TMJ:
- Tension headaches or migraines
- Popping or clicking sounds when you open or close your mouth
- Sinus pain
- Joints that are difficult to close or feel like they lock when you open your mouth
- Cracked or worn out teeth
- Arthritis around the temporomandibular joint
- Condylar degeneration
Additionally, those who suffer from TMJ often feel pain or a grating sensation when they chew food. This condition affects about 25 percent of the population, particularly women between the ages of 20 and 40. Unfortunately, the experts are unable to explain the precise cause of this condition. Previously, it was believed that teeth grinding and jaw clenching were the main causes of TMJ, but it actually might be caused by a combination of different factors, including physical trauma and genetics.
When You Should See a Dentist
If you are in pain, especially consistent pain, you should never ignore it. TMJ can make it difficult to eat, drink, and talk, so if you are experiencing these symptoms, this is a sign that you should see a dentist. When you visit your dentist to address your condition, he or she will examine your mouth and check the muscles along your face, jaw, neck, and even the insides of your mouth for signs of teeth grinding.
If you are diagnosed with TMJ, you could receive a number of different treatments, including muscle relaxers, a mouth guard, neck and jaw stretching, and even a soft-food diet. Cognitive therapy might even be recommended for some to determine the triggers for pain. In severe cases, surgery might be required. These procedures can range from needles which can move joint fluid, or they can be more invasive and require the replacement of the joint.
Once you schedule your dental appointment, if you are looking for ways to alleviate your jaw pain until it is time to see your dentist, you should avoid chewing too much and opt for softer foods. Try to relax and take deep breaths to relieve some of the tension in your jaw.
Skilled Dentists in St. Augustine
If you suspect you are suffering from TMJ and regularly experience jaw pain or difficulty opening and closing your mouth, you should schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible. At Palencia Dental in St. Augustine, we provide TMJ relief and are committed to providing our patients with exceptional treatment options that will give them the relief they need. You should not have to suffer from this condition and there are effective ways to address it.