Clicking in your jaw, soreness, when you yawn and/or chew, or waking up with frequent headaches, are all common complaints from those with Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ). The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It is a hinge joint that allows your mouth to open and close, and when it is injured or damaged it can lead to discomfort and localized pain called TMJ syndrome.
Often times, patients come into the dentist office with puzzling symptoms that they are unaware are associated with TMJ syndrome. Below are signs and symptoms of TMJ syndrome:
• Jaw clicking and popping
• Pain or soreness in the jaw
• Ear pain
• Popping sounds in the ears
• Stiff jaw muscles
• Pain in the temple area
• Locking of the jaw joint
There are sometimes effective at-home remedies that can help ease the discomfort of TMJ syndrome. Ice packs, resting the joint between meals, gentle stretching of the jaw and neck muscles, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, refraining from chewing gum, and stress reduction can all be effective for many people.
TMJ syndrome is sometimes difficult to diagnose simply because patients do not associate their ear pain or frequent headaches with their jaw function. However, the relation of the joint to the rest of the skull actually provides a clear relationship to many of the symptoms. Clenching the teeth during stressful situations is one of the most frequent causes of headaches and jaw soreness. By relaxing the tension through massage or gentle stretching of the jaw and neck, headaches can regularly be relieved. Other treatments include dental splints, physical therapy, prescription medications, Botox® injections, and even surgery in severe cases.
Dr. Mitul Patel is a board certified Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) who is highly experienced in treating TMJ. If you frequently experience pain, soreness, or clicking of your jaw, you could be suffering from TMJ syndrome. Contact Hello Family Dental today to schedule an appointment for accurate diagnosis and treatment.