What Could Be Causing Your Jaw Pain?

Your jaw moves every time you speak, eat, chew gum, and yawn. A sore jaw can seriously impact your ability to do everyday tasks, so it's important to understand what causes jaw pain. Your pain could be due to issues like sinus problems or severe headaches, or it might be related to the temporomandibular joint, known as a TMJ disorder, which an experienced dentist can treat. 

At Advanced Dental Care in Austin, Texas, our team of dentists can help determine the cause of your jaw pain. From there, we can take steps to reduce pain and treat the issue so you can carry on with eating and speaking normally. 

Possible causes of jaw pain 

The intensity and location of your jaw pain differs depending on the issue. Jaw pain can sometimes be caused by: 

However, most cases of jaw pain can be traced to the jaw itself. Issues with this joint are called TMJ disorders

What are TMJ disorders? 

Your jaw is controlled by a hinge joint. Each side is cushioned by a protective disc, which allows you to chew, talk, and yawn without putting undue stress on the jawbones. TMJ disorders can occur when there's a problem with the disc, hinge, or muscles of your temporomandibular joint. 

TMJ issues are the most common cause of persistent jaw pain. The pain in this joint can result from a number of factors, including: 

The condition affects both your jawbone and your facial muscles, leading to generalized pain. A variety of treatments are available to alleviate your pain.

Treating TMJ 

People with TMJ disorders often get pain relief with over-the-counter medications such as painkillers and mild muscle relaxers. In addition, cold compresses and ice packs cool the jawbone, while moist heat can help loosen the muscles. Avoiding chewy foods like gum, steak, and dried meats also helps. 

If your TMJ pain is caused by grinding and clenching your teeth, we recommend that you practice mindfulness throughout the day. In moments of stress, consciously relax your jaw to avoid strain. If you grind your teeth in your sleep, a mouthguard is very helpful. 

People with serious TMJ disorders might need medical intervention. Our dentists have years of experience treating TMJ problems, and we have several tools to address the problem — even orthodontics if bite issues are at the root of your pain. Your specific treatment depends on what’s causing your pain.

If you're struggling with a TMJ disorder, the dentists at Advanced Dental Care can help. Get in touch by calling 512-331-1477 or by scheduling a visit using our online booking tool.

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