Jaw Muscle Pain
Jaw Muscle Pain
Hi Charlotte NC, Have Jaw Muscle Pain?
The majority of jaw muscle pain symptoms can be treated with a night guard. What type of guard however, can have a major impact on helping treat your jaw muscle pain symptoms. Most patients can benefit from a dental guard that allows only the front teeth to touch. However, patients with true joint jaw pain, not muscle related, will benefit more when all the teeth are supported with a guard. Dr. Micheal and Kelly will help you determine which will be best for you. There are some instances where a guard is not able to help and in that case you would be referred to a specialist for TMJ Relief.
Patients often ask us how to prevent jaw muscle pain. A variety of things can cause a sore, achy jaw. One of the first things your dentist will do is give you an examination to diagnose the cause of your discomfort.
Possible Causes of Jaw Pain
Bruxism, or tooth grinding, is when someone habitually grinds or clenches their teeth throughout the day or even while sleeping. It can cause pain in the jaw, headaches, and premature wearing down of teeth.
People frequently grind their teeth more when under stress. For some people, stress management and relaxation techniques can reduce their grinding. Often a dentist will recommend a mouth guard to prevent tooth damage and in some cases, Botox can be a treatment option as well.
In addition to bruxism, muscle tension without grinding can also cause a sore or achy jaw. Often the tension is related to stress.
Temporomandibular joint disorders ( also referred to as TMJ or TMD) are another jaw pain source. These disorders include arthritis in the jaw’s joint, joint issues involving the bone or cartilage, and pain in the muscles that help the jaw move.
Other possible causes include excessive chewing perhaps of gum, Osteoarthritis, or even infection.
Another cause to add is poor breathing, particularly mouth breathing, snoring, and sleep apnea.
Tongue ties and oral dysfunction can also lead to jaw pain since a tied tongue doesn’t act independently from the jaw making the muscles get overworked. If that’s the case, myofunctional therapy can treat oral dysfunction and remove jaw compensations to address tongue ties.
Because there are so many possible causes, diagnosis is crucial. Many of these issues can cause or exacerbate dental issues such as gum disease, tooth fractures, cavities, and more.
Jaw pain is commonly associated with TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction – also referred to as TMJ) but is often times not that serious – it could just be a case of teeth grinding. At Southview Dentistry, we see lots of patients who grind their teeth at night due to stress from their daily lives or who suffer from sleep apnea or snoring. Grinding is not always a stress-related symptom it could just be a case of snoring causing your jaws to clench.
When a patient visits us the first question we ask is if they suffer from sleep apnea or snoring, which could cause grinding of their teeth without a patient even knowing it.
Preventing Jaw Muscle Pain
Understanding some of the more common sources of jaw pain may also give some insight into how to treat and prevent it.
If you have jaw pain, the first step is to see your dentist for a diagnosis. Addressing the cause may also relieve the pain and prevent future pain. For example, if your jaw pain is caused by clenching and grinding your teeth, wearing a mouth guard may help.
If a TMJ disorder causes it, pain medication and treatment for your specific condition may relieve current pain and prevent future pain. Sometimes that may involve physical therapy, and prescription muscle relaxants may be prescribed.
People who feel muscle pain may benefit from stress relief techniques and a series of jaw exercises.
It all starts by visiting a dentist for an examination. Charlotte, NC residents, trust their oral health to Southview Dentistry. If you live in the local area and suffer from jaw pain, contact us today to schedule an appointment.
How Doctors Can Help
Dr. Kelly or Dr. Micheal will examine your jaw and determine the best form of TMJ Relief. Self-treatment is not recommended when the jaw pain is extreme as it could cause the condition to worsen.
Using Night Guards
To help jaw pain due to grinding, Dr. Kelly or Dr. Micheal will prescribe patients a night guard. This can offer TMJ relief. However, not all night guards work the same. Dr. Micheal custom makes every night guard in the office that fits your bite exactly.
After receiving your custom night guard it’s important to remember to bring them with you to every dental visit so Drs. Kelly & Micheal can check your bite and clean it for you.