One of the most common places to experience pain is in the jaw. Do you wake up with an aching jaw or have trouble chewing or eating your food? Jaw pain can be incredibly hindering, and it can be challenging to find a solution. However, whether you are dealing with occasional or chronic jaw pain, you can take steps to find relief. Read on to explore some potential causes of jaw pain and treatment options.
Causes of Jaw Pain
Several factors can cause jaw pain. One common cause is TMJ disorder, which is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint, the hinge that connects the jaw to the skull. TMJ disorder can be caused by joint misalignment, grinding or clenching of the teeth, or stress.
Another common cause of jaw pain is a toothache. This can be caused by decay, an infection, or an injury to the tooth. An infection can also cause jaw pain in the gums or jawbone. This is usually the result of bacteria entering the body through a cut or other wound.
Can missing teeth cause jaw pain? Yes, if your teeth are misaligned or missing, it can lead to jaw pain. This is because the jaws may not be able to close as they should. If you have a misaligned bite or missing teeth, it is best to correct these issues and prevent further discomfort.
In some cases, jaw pain may be caused by arthritis, which causes inflammation and joint pain. Finally, gum disease can also lead to jaw pain. Gum disease is usually the result of poor oral hygiene and can cause inflammation, redness, and swelling in the gums. Left untreated can also damage the bone and lead to tooth loss.
Treating Jaw Pain
You must see a healthcare provider for an evaluation if you have persistent or severe jaw pain. You can see an orthodontist or even a dentist if you need to correct misaligned teeth. Note that your healthcare provider will want to rule out any severe conditions and develop a treatment plan accordingly.
There are a few different treatment options that may provide relief.
Physical therapy may be recommended if your jaw pain is caused by arthritis. Physical therapy exercises can help to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the jaw. You can also look up jaw exercises to try at home. Just ensure you speak with your healthcare provider first.
Because stress can cause you to grind your teeth even while you sleep, it can lead to jaw pain, and it is essential to find ways to manage this. You may benefit from relaxation exercises, meditation, and other stress-reduction techniques. Your healthcare provider can likely recommend some. Counseling can also help address any underlying psychological issues contributing to teeth grinding or TMJ disorder.
Oral splints or guards can be worn at night to prevent teeth grinding and clenching. With these, the teeth are not in contact with each other, and this can help to reduce inflammation. However, it’s still important to manage and reduce grinding.
In addition, ice packs can help to ease the pain. If you have an infection, you will likely be prescribed antibiotic medication to help fight off the bacteria in your system. You can also use over-the-counter pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and ease discomfort
If you are looking for a more natural approach, you can also do things at home to help ease the pain. Warm compresses can be helpful. Also, focus on eating soft foods, practicing good posture, and avoiding large bites. You should also incorporate regular brushing and flossing into your daily routine to combat bacteria and prevent gum disease from developing in the future.
If your case or pain is more severe, there are other choices. Botox injections are one option, as they can help to relax the muscles and reduce inflammation. You can also get replacements for the teeth you lost.
In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to correct any underlying abnormalities. However, most people can find relief through one of these less-invasive treatments.
Jaw pain can be a nuisance, but there are things you can do to find relief. Start by determining the cause of the pain and making any necessary lifestyle changes. From there, you can work with your healthcare provider to find a treatment that works for you. By exploring your treatment options, you can find the best way to reduce the pain and get back to living your life. With patience and care, your jaw pain will soon be a thing of the past.