Have you noticed a persistent soreness in your jaw? You might have temporomandibular joint disorders or TMJ. This condition will cause pain in the jaw that can radiate to hurt your face, head, and ears.
This issue can worsen without treatment from a dentist, so do not ignore this symptom. You might begin having problems with the function of the jaw as well if it advances.
The treatment for TMJ will vary depending on the cause of this tension and pain in the jaw joint. Read on to find three potential treatments that your dentist may suggest to alleviate chronic jaw pain.
3 Ways to Treat TMJ
Stress Relief Exercises
When you feel high amounts of stress, this can manifest as tension throughout the body, including in the jaw. Tension in the jaw can cause you to clench your teeth, often without your notice. But this tension will tighten the muscles in the jaw, leading to dysfunction, pain, and other discomforts.
Your dentist can recommend facial stretches and exercises that will loosen these tight muscles, bringing relief from uncomfortable symptoms of TMJ. They may also give you advice for overall stress relief that can help you resolve TMJ and other issues stemming from high stress levels. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to learn the cause of your TMJ and jaw pain and therefore develop an effective treatment plan.
Wear a Custom Night Guard
Clenching teeth during the day can occur without a patient’s awareness, as can teeth grinding during sleep. While you cannot always control what you do unconsciously, you can protect your smile and jaw from this behavior overnight.
Your dentist can make you a night guard to wear as you sleep. This custom-made oral appliance will fit comfortably while cushioning the teeth and jaw from pressure exerted by unconscious teeth grinding.
It will also keep the jaw in a position that will allow the muscles to rest during sleep, further preventing tension from building in this area. Patients can find relief from pain and other discomforts related to TMJ caused by bruxism using this night guard.
Align Your Bite
Sometimes, tension in the jaw and TMJ occurs due to bite problems. If you have crooked, overlapping, or gapped teeth, your jaw might not close properly when you bite down. This may create an uneven distribution of pressure which could hurt the jaw and tighten the muscles over time.
You can relieve this tension when you align your bite, but you cannot do this on your own. Your dentist can straighten crooked teeth using Invisalign. These custom plastic aligners are worn over the teeth and gradually shift them to a straighter position. Treatment lengths with Invisalign will vary depending on the patient’s unique dental needs.
More severe malocclusions may need treatment from an orthodontist. Consult with your dentist to learn if a straighter smile can help you resolve chronic jaw pain from TMJ.