You might expect your knees and hips to get achy as you age, but why is your jaw hurting as well? Jaw pain is a surprisingly common issue experienced by more than 10 million Americans. This type of jaw pain doesn’t occur by accident; it’s a result of injury or dysfunction in the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that connect the lower jaw to the side of the head.
Once you understand how and why TMJ disorders develop, you can find a TMJ dentist in OKC to help you eliminate your chronic pain once and for all.
What is the TMJ?
The TMJ is the hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bone. When your TMJ works properly, it allows you to move your jaw up, down, and side to side. If you can smile, yawn, chew and talk without any pain or difficulty, then your TMJ is in good shape.
Causes of TMJ Disorder (TMD)
TMD is the most common form of pain and inflammation that impacts the temporomandibular joints.
There are many different potential causes of TMD, including these three most prevalent risk factors:
- Grinding and clenching your teeth
- Arthritis in the TMJ
- Movement of the disc between the ball and socket of the TMJ
You may have jaw pain in Oklahoma City if you have trouble opening your mouth wide, hear clicking and popping along the side of your face, or have difficulty chewing. Symptoms of TMD can even affect the neck, shoulders, and ear areas with earaches, hearing problems, neck pain, and dizziness.
Treating Your Oklahoma City Jaw Pain
Fortunately, jaw pain is easy to treat with the help of a TMJ dentist. The easiest and most common solution to TMD is a night guard, also known as an occlusal guard.
An occlusal guard is a horseshoe-shaped piece of plastic. It’s customized to fit your mouth and teeth perfectly. Your jaw pain diminishes when you wear an occlusal guard at night to create a soft barrier between your teeth.
By preventing grinding and clenching at night, an occlusal guard can reduce TMJ pain, worn teeth surfaces, headaches, and overall discomfort. Although an occlusal guard cannot directly solve the problem that causes jaw pain from grinding and clenching, it can encourage the jaws to relax overnight, which can decrease the pain and tension you feel.
Certain medications like NSAIDS can help to alleviate pain temporarily. You can also help alleviate symptoms of your TMJ disorder at home by eating softer foods, practicing relaxation techniques that minimize jaw tension, and using heat packs to reduce pain.
Learn more about your jaw pain and TMD from an experienced TMJ dentist in Oklahoma City like Dr. Grace Jun. The team at Pragma Dental OKC are experienced in TMJ/TMD treatments, including Botox and laser therapy. Call today to schedule your TMJ consultation.