Clear Lake Dental Care Team

3 Ways to Relieve Jaw Pain Today!

Webster TX dentist Dr. Das here,

I have a special message for you today about your oral health. This isn’t a traditional dentist’s appeal to patients about brushing and flossing. Those things are paramount to maintaining great oral health, but there are often other things going on in the mouth that can damage a smile. Or cause you pain. I’m talking about waking up with a painful headache and an achy jaw every morning.  

The TMJ is the joint that connects the jaw and the skull. About 10 million people struggle with TMJ issues. These TMJ issues can lead to facial swelling or clicking, popping, and locking of the jaw. Many people who have TMJ issues also involuntarily clench or grind their teeth while their sleep. This can cause problems like jaw pain and unnatural tooth wear and tear.

We often recommend orthodontics for patients with TMJ issues, as the treatment will correct bite and help relieve stress from the jaw muscles. Of course, some orthodontic procedures take more than two years to complete. There are other ways to relieve the pain from your jaw. Here are a few:

Jaw stretches and exercises. One of the big issues people with TMJ problems face is the range of motion in the jaw. When the TMJ is inflamed, it can inhibit your ability to open and close the jaw. Or the mouth will open to a certain point and click or pop. That can be extremely painful! The TMJ is a joint, but there are muscles and tendons attached. You can stretch the jaw by slowly opening the mouth as wide as possible while looking up. Hold this position for a few seconds and repeat. Next, you can move jaw from left to right. Hold these positions for a few seconds as well. During these stretches, it’s important not cause yourself pain.

Jaw massages. Massage therapy is a common treatment for TMJ. Many dentists offer massage therapy or use a system known as TENS. You can also practice a few different massage methods at home. The kneading massage is when you when move the fingers in a slow, circular motion on the jaw joints. You can open and close your mouth during the massage. You can do this message when you wake up in the morning to relieve the pressure and discomfort.

Oral appliance. I mentioned earlier that TMJ issues are often caused by clenching or grinding. Clenching or grinding the teeth can cause discomfort in the jaw and damage the teeth. The stress caused by clenching or grinding, can caused teeth to fracture and increase the risk of problems gum disease. To help you avoid these issues, we can provide an oral appliance that inhibits you from clenching your jaw or grinding teeth while you sleep. The oral appliance can be crafted after taking a quick impression of the teeth. The appliance is comfortable and will not disrupt your sleep.  

I have met with patients struggling with TMJ issues who take medication every day. They struggle with headaches, and have poor range of motion in their jaw.  These problems can nag at you, and they often do not improve with age. If you have sharp jaw or wake up with an achy jaw, there are affordable, non invasive treatments available. Give us a call today at 281-500-9877.


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