What’s Causing My Jaw Pain?

dentist in saginaw, michiganJaw pain is a common complaint from dental patients. But, Dr. Daryle J. Manhke and his team in Bay City, MI are experienced restorative dental professionals who treat TMJ and a variety of oral health problems. Here are some of the most common questions we receive about jaw pain and TMJ disorders and how you can find relief from these issues.

What Causes Jaw Pain?

The system that allows you to open and close your mouth is a surprisingly delicate and complex array of muscles, tendons, and bone all working together. There are many different things that can factor into jaw pain, but one of the most common causes is a long history of teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. This condition can occur both during sleep and during the day, especially in those with a stressful job or lifestyle. Teeth grinding causes jaw pain because it places pressure on the mouth muscles for a long period of time.

Jaw pain can also result from an uneven bite, such as one stemming from an overbite or underbite, or due to having missing teeth. When teeth are not properly aligned or shift positions in the mouth, they may become overworked when chewing or speaking. Unevenly worn teeth can also contribute to premature tooth decay.

Do I Have A TMJ Disorder?

Any pain associated with the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) on either side of your jaw is considered a TMJ disorder, or TMD. A TMD has a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Jaw pain
  • Neck pain
  • Tension headaches
  • Popping or clicking when opening or closing your mouth
  • Chronic tooth grinding

TMJ is more difficult to identify and properly treat than many patients realize, but Dr. Manhke has advanced training and extensive experience diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders. Few clinicians are trained to properly identify, diagnose and treat TMJ disorders. Dr. Mahnke uses advanced technology to diagnose and treat TMD, such as T-Scan III, a digital bite analysis system. He will carefully evaluate your situation to determine the best course of treatment.

How is TMJ Treated?

The right treatment depends on the underlying reason for the condition. After detailed imaging and evaluation, Dr. Mahnke will be able to recommend the best treatment.

For example, if a misaligned bite is the culprit, you may need orthodontics or oral surgery. If a missing tooth is causing pain, you may need to consider restorative dentistry to replace the tooth to prevent your natural teeth from drifting. Some patients may be prescribed a night guard, which can keep the teeth in a better position and help prevent teeth grinding.

How Do I Stop Jaw Pain?

While you’re waiting for your appointment with Dr. Manhke to treat your jaw pain, there are some at-home remedies you can try. Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter pain reliever that can help, and holding a cold compress to your cheek will help reduce inflammation and swelling around the joint. You may also want to set reminders for yourself to relax, release jaw and neck tension, and gently massage the aching areas.

Schedule your appointment online or call us at 989-272-2478 today to find out the best treatment for your jaw pain.