Pain is no joke. If you live with it on a daily basis, you know it can be all-consuming. This is especially true for jaw pain. You need your jaw movement to eat your meals and snacks, not to mention just simply talking.
If you are experiencing jaw pain, you may be looking for what could be causing such pain. More importantly, how to make it stop. There are several reasons to explore, some less serious than others and some you can remedy on your own.
Specific Causes of Jaw Pain
Believe it or not, there are often simple reasons why your jaw may be aching. You should explore the simple issues before moving on to issues that may require medical attention.
You could be clenching your teeth throughout the day and even in your sleep. Make an effort to catch yourself at times such as: while you are driving, watching television, cooking, or reading . Really, look at any time you are alone focusing on something. It could be happening without you realizing it. This will tire your jaw out and cause fatigue in the muscle.
Grinding Your Teeth
It is a hard habit to break for many people, but one that is important to quit. Grinding your teeth, or bruxism, causes extreme damage to your teeth plus on-going jaw pain. Your teeth will be ground down to posts and you put a lot of pressure on your jaw bones. It most often happens in your sleep and could be caused by your bite, missing teeth or even sleep disorders.
Temporomandibular disorder/Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome
TMD is a disorder affecting the jaw joint where it meets the skull. It can go along with many different symptoms. The obvious symptom is jaw pain. It is when the joint often makes a clicking or popping sound. Similarly, TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome) affects the same joint and could be related to dislocation of this joint. It is usually chronic and worsens with time, especially without help.
What Can I Do?
For simple causes such as clenching you can make a conscious effort to keep relaxing your jaw. You have to catch yourself doing it and note when you are doing it. Another tip is try to reduce the stress and anxiety your are experiencing in your life since this can affect how much you clench your teeth.
As for grinding your teeth, you can ask your dentist to fit you for a mouthguard to wear at night. This appliance helps to prevent you from grinding while you sleep and are not conscious of your actions. You may also need to have some dental work done to improve your overall bite or correct missing teeth.
As for TMD and TMJ, it is always best to seek out the advice of a TMJ Specialist. This will ensure you are getting the attention you need from a professional with training and knowledge. TMJ is a medical issue and is not something you can deal with on your own without advice. If you are awaiting an appointment but need relief you can apply a warm washcloth to the area each night before bed.