Waking up to jaw pain and a headache every day could signal that you are suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ/TMD. Common symptoms of this disorder are clicking and/or pain in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth. Some individuals experience radiating pain in their neck and shoulder. Facial pain is sometimes present as well.

The temporomandibular joint is the hinge that allows your jaw to open and close and move from side to side. Clenching or grinding your teeth can overwork the muscles and cause discomfort in the joint. Injury to the joint, such as a blow to the jaw, can also cause this condition to develop.

Treatment for the disorder depends on the severity of the issue. Some individuals will not need treatment; the problem will resolve on its own. If it does not, and over-the-counter pain relievers do not provide relief, your dentist may prescribe more effective prescription medication such as prescription-strength ibuprofen.

Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, are sometimes used in low doses to control the pain caused by teeth grinding. Muscle relaxants may be prescribed to help stop muscle spasms caused by the disorder.

Jaw Pain, Facial Pain Relief!

TMJ/TMD is often treated with therapies that do not require medication. Occlusal appliances, such as mouth guards or oral splints, can be used to stop the upper and lower teeth from touching. Preventing grinding and cushioning clenching by placing a soft or formed device over the teeth is often effective in providing relief from jaw pain.

Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles can also be effective. The exercises may be accompanied by ultrasound and ice and heat therapy.

Stress management is often a factor in providing relief. Learning how to manage the triggers that cause stressful conditions can be effective. Counseling can help patients understand and learn to avoid the behaviors that can aggravate the pain.

Contact Green Dental of Alexandria for an examination and consultation regarding your jaw or facial pain. An accurate diagnosis of TMJ/TMD will identify the most effective treatment for your discomfort. Call today to schedule your appointment with us.

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