There are many potential causes for jaw pain, ranging from jaw dislocation through to sinusitis, teeth grinding (bruxism), dental abscess and more. Acute jaw pain when chewing or audible clicking, popping or grating sounds should not be ignored as these are typical indicators for temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome). Whilst this condition is not life threatening, it is important to seek diagnosis and treatment from your dentist to reduce the impacts on your dental and overall health. In this blog post, Sydney Park Dental will share some insight into TMJ disorders and treatment options.
What does the Temporomandibular Joint Do?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jawbone to the skull. The TMJ plays a crucial role, as it is responsible for the opening and closing of the jaw which allows us to chew/eat and speak.
Disruption to the normal function of the TMJ may result in jaw pain, as well as a popping or clicking sound being heard when opening and closing the jaw. Some people also experience headaches, earaches and facial pain as a result of TMJ disorder.
Common Causes of TMJ Dysfunction
There are numerous potential causes of TMJ disorders, and it is important to visit your dentist for a comprehensive examination and diagnosis. This condition can affect people of all ages, though it is most common amongst those aged 20-40.
Some of the most common causes include:
- History of bruxism (teeth grinding/clenching)
- Excessive use of chewing gum which can cause overuse of the jaw muscles
How is TMJ Pain treated?
Most cases of TMJ pain are temporary, and making a few simple lifestyle changes may be all that is necessary to resolve your issue. This might include avoiding hard foods, avoiding chewing gum, use of Panadol and anti-inflammatories, eating soft foods, applying ice packs to relieve joint pain and performing gentle jaw stretching exercises.
Dentists regularly treat patients experiencing orofacial pain, with toothache and TMJ dysfunction being the two most common causes. Around 60-70% of people experience TMJ dysfunction at some point in their lives, with symptoms varying from mild to severe. It is advisable to seek treatment early, as this condition can make it difficult to eat, speak and go about your daily routine.
In cases where TMJ pain is related to a dental issue, your dentist can diagnose the cause of your TMJ pain and propose an appropriate treatment to relieve pain and discomfort.
Treatment may involve:
- Use of an occlusal splint to stop teeth grinding and relieve pain
- Orthodontic treatment to correct teeth and jaw alignment
- Repairing damaged/worn teeth with dental crowns or fillings
- Dentist administered muscle relaxant injections to reduce muscle activity and relieve jaw pain and discomfort
Experiencing Jaw Pain? Contact Sydney Park Dental Today
Most TMJ disorders are mild in nature and will eventually resolve on their own, typically within a matter of months. However, if TMJ pain is severe and adversely affecting your daily routine, it is important to seek professional diagnosis and treatment.
If you have been experiencing persistent jaw pain, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment at Sydney Park Dental by calling 02 8084 7170 today. Our experienced dentists will develop a tailored treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and restore optimal TMJ function. We look forward to seeing you soon.