Facial pain, swelling, clenching, and pain when chewing? It’s probably just a toothache…or you could be experiencing a more chronic condition!
Both movements of chewing and talking are something that humans often do not have to think about or pay attention to as it occurs, and most people feel that if they experience pain when chewing, or facial pain, it is automatically related to a tooth or dental issue. While this can often be the case, there is another culprit of jaw pain that is often left out – the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ).
What is TMJ Associated Pain?
The TMJ connects your jaw bone to your skull and acts like other joints as a ‘sliding hinge’ in order to allow the jaw to make movements. Sometimes, this joint can become overtaken with arthritis, injured, or overtime can have disc erosion which can cause a disorder with the movement of the joint. This often results in symptoms such as: pain or tenderness along the jaw, aching pains around or in the ear, difficulty or painful chewing, facial pain, and locking or clicking of the joint. This can become more painful and can cause those experiencing such symptoms to begin clenching their jaw/feel fearsome to move it and to grind their teeth more.
What Can be done to Alleviate the Pain?
After your doctor or dentist determines that you have a TMJ disorder, there are various options that can be used to help alleviate pain and symptoms. Starting with home remedies – ice, heat and anti-inflammatory OTC medications are typically used temporarily to get the symptoms under control. Mouth guards may also be a part of this treatment plan to alleviate symptoms from the jaw clenching or grinding during sleep. When these methods are not enough, doctors may treat you with higher anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, physical therapy exercises and other injection therapies for the associated joints and/or muscles to help treat and relax where the pain is stemming from. It is important to get a true diagnose to determine the cause of the TMJ disorder in order to effectively treat the pain at the source.
If you experience these types of pains for more than a few weeks that do not go away with at-home remedies, make an appointment to be evaluated for TMJ disorders to figure out what may be causing the issue and receive a custom treatment plan. TMJ pain is not an easy condition to live with, but is more common than you may think, and can be effectively treated with various methods, especially when found early on, to help get the condition under control.
To discuss your symptoms and go over your options, make an appointment by calling (215) 395-8888 or by visiting the request page here.