Overcoming a Sore Jaw

Nov 14 11:43 2014 Dr. Robert Soper Print This Article

If you are feeling soreness or tenderness in your jaw, you should schedule an appointment with our dentist in Wilmington in order to receive a proper diagnosis and to explore your options.

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) are issues you experience with your jaw,Guest Posting as well as the joint and facial muscles surrounding your jaw. This can cause stress and discomfort in your daily life. The causes of TMD includes grinding or clenching the teeth, dislocation of the soft cushion between the ball and socket, rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ or stress which causes a person to tighten facial or jaw muscles.

Symptoms of TMD arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or parts of the joint. These symptoms include tension and tenderness in your face or jaw, difficulty with opening your mouth wide, locking or clicking or your jaw, difficulty in chewing, a tired feeling in your face, and swelling on the side of your face. Other common symptoms of TMD include toothaches, headaches, dizziness, earaches, ringing in the ears or hearing problems.

Your dentist will look into patient history to determine the cause of your symptoms and will examine your jaw thoroughly. He or she will check for locking of the jaw while opening and closing your mouth. Additionally, your bite and facial muscle function will be examined, and your dentist will evaluate your jaw pain and tenderness. In some cases, x-rays will be taken to check your jaw, jaw joint, and teeth for irregularities. It can be difficult to diagnose TMD and TMJ because the symptoms of these are similar to symptoms of other health issues such as toothache, arthritis, and sinus problems.

If your dentist diagnoses you for TMD, there is a wide array of treatment plans that range from home remedies to injections and surgery. Some basic, at home remedies include applying moist heat or cold packs to the sore jaw, eating soft foods, wearing a splint or night guard or taking medications to relieve muscle pain and swelling.

There are precautions your dentist in Wilmington recommends to avoid TMD and TMJ problems from arising. First, you can avoid hard foods and excessively chewing gum. Although gum can have many oral health benefits such as preventing cavities and tooth decay, it can tire your jaw and cause some soreness if you are not accustomed to regularly chewing gum. If these at home remedies prove to be unsuccessful, your dentist may suggest radio wave therapy or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which uses low-level electrical currents to provide pain relief to the joint. He or she may also offer trigger point injections where anesthesia or pain medication is injected into tender facial muscles to relieve pain. Lastly, your dentist may recommend you get surgery as a last resort if all others deem unsuccessful. There are three types of surgery for TMD: arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, and open-joint surgery.

Some ways to prevent TMD problems is to develop and practice relaxation techniques to reduce tension in your face and jaw. Clenching, especially in your sleep, can cause tension in your jaw, so you can reduce soreness by learning to relax your jaw. For example, by placing the tip of your tongue at the roof of your mouth, your jaw will automatically relax, reducing some of the tension. If you struggle with clenching your jaw while you sleep, you may want to consider getting fitted for a mouth guard from your dentist.

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Dr. Robert Soper
Dr. Robert Soper

Dr. Robert Soper, Dr. Michele Semonelli and team believe in providing only the best in patient care at Forever Family Dental. We focus on offering the highest quality dentistry for patients of all ages in the most friendly and accepting atmosphere.

To help you achieve a healthy and confident smile, we provide a full range of general, cosmetic and restorative dental solutions for you and your family, including:

  • Cosmetic Contouring
  • Specialty Dentures
  • Cosmetic Fillings
  • Invisalign
  • Extractions
  • Root Canal Therapy
  • Under Armour Mouthwear

We aim to provide comfortable care in a comfortable environment. We welcome new patients at our Wilmington dental office and please schedule an appointment with us today.

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