Healthy, functioning jaws allow you to go about necessary daily tasks, such as biting, chewing, and speaking, with ease. Once jaw pain sets in, though, your ability to do all of these things can suffer. So can your mood. About 30-40% of people in the US live with chronic orofacial pain, including pain affecting the jaw. If your own symptoms are severe or long-lasting, seeking proper care is important.

If you’re showing signs of a jaw pain disorder, the highly trained and qualified dentists at Center for Advanced Dentistry in San Jose, California, have a range of effective solutions. Read on to learn more about jaw pain and why you don’t want to delay treatment.

Jaw pain causes

Jaw pain can crop up for a slew of reasons, including:

Also known as TMJ disorder or TMD, temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition in which chronic pain occurs in the  temporomandibular joint, the hinged joint that connects your jaw and skull. An especially common cause of jaw pain, TMD affects one in eight adults at some point in their life. And numerous factors that cause general and seemingly temporary jaw pain, such as teeth grinding and injuries, can lead to TMD if the underlying cause isn’t addressed.

TMJ disorder symptoms

Symptoms of TMD vary between people, both in type and intensity. When you’re dealing with a TMJ disorder, the signs may include:

  • Ear pain
  • Eye pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Difficulty chewing or opening your mouth
  • Facial pain
  • Jaw clicking or locking
  • Jaw pain, especially while using your jaw
  • Jaw spasms
  • Shoulder tension

Jaw pain complications

If you don’t treat your jaw pain, it’s likely to intensify over time. Ignoring TMD symptoms can impact your ability to eat, swallow, speak, control your facial muscles, and even breathe normally. Unmanaged jaw pain can also make it difficult to sleep, which can affect your daytime energy, appetite, and mood. In addition, the jaw pain itself can become a significant source of emotional stress, leading to irritability and a reduced capacity to fully enjoy your life.

Jaw pain treatment

Thankfully, there are effective treatments for jaw pain — and the sooner you seek help, the better your odds will be for avoiding complications and finding relief. Your treatment plan at Center for Advanced Dentistry may include:

  • Botox injections, for reduced muscle tightness
  • Lifestyle changes, such as heat or ice therapy and relaxation techniques
  • Medications, to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Mouth guards, to reduce teeth clenching and grinding at night
  • Physical therapy, including stretches you can do at home

If other treatments fail to help, we may recommend a minimally invasive procedure to remove debris and inflammatory byproducts or repair your jaw tissues.

To learn more about jaw pain or get started with treatment, call Center for Advanced Dentistry at 408-498-9082, or request an appointment on our website.

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