Does your jaw feel sore and stiff? Oral discomfort of any kind is abnormal, especially if the pain becomes chronic. Jaw pain may grow severe and begin to impact your oral function. It can become difficult to move your jaw, and you might notice a clicking sound when opening and closing your mouth.
These symptoms point to temporomandibular joint disorders, TMJ, a condition where excess strain on the jaw joint creates inflammation and discomfort in the area. TMJ will worsen without treatment from your dentist, so you should not ignore the problem.
The dentist can help you determine the underlying cause of strain and pain in your jaw to resolve the issue. So schedule a dental consultation as soon as you can. And read on to find three ways you and your dentist can relieve chronic jaw pain stemming from TMJ.
Relieve Chronic Stress
Chronic jaw pain often comes from excess pressure exerted onto the jaw due to habits like clenching and grinding the teeth. These behaviors can occur when you feel stressed or overwhelmed and experience strain that manifests in the jaw. If you work to relieve underlying stress, you can resolve many cases of mild jaw pain and strain.
Try deep breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques to relieve overall stress. Your dentist can also recommend targeted facial stretches that will loosen tense muscles in the jaw. This will reduce strain on the jaw and therefore alleviate TMJ symptoms like pain and stiffness. But sometimes other underlying causes contribute to TMJ, so you should consult with your dentist about your symptoms.
Wear a Night Guard
A dentist can also help you relieve chronic pain caused by TMJ with a custom-made night guard. You can wear an oral appliance like this as you sleep to cushion the teeth against grinding or clenching that may occur during this period of unconsciousness. This guard blocks excess pressure from radiating and hurting your jaw so that you can wake up without discomfort.
The night guard will also keep your jaw aligned while you sleep in a position of rest to further reduce strain that could otherwise lead to TMJ. You can look forward to a comfortable and secure fit with this individually produced appliance. It will not disrupt your sleep schedule while you wear it and treat TMJ.
Amend Dental Misalignment
Sometimes jaw strain and TMJ develop due to bite problems. This term refers to issues in the alignment of your teeth that mean that your mouth does not close properly when you bite down. Then pressure on your teeth and jaw will distribute unevenly and lead to extra tension in certain spots of your jaw.
More severe malocclusions will require an evaluation from an orthodontist to fix. But your dentist can fix minor irregularities in your teeth and alignment with cosmetic dental treatments in some cases. Visit your dentist to learn more about how to straighten your teeth and relieve TMJ.