It is common for many people to suffer from discomforting pain in the face and jaw, especially in the morning after waking up. At Crown Dental in West Richland, WA, we want to help you find the source of this pain. Known as TMJ, this condition is a painful disorder of the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint) and can be caused for a number of reasons. Dr. Walberto Cantu will examine your jaw and bite for this disorder and ask you specific questions regarding certain habits or conditions that may contribute, such as teeth grinding or misalignment. You may have recurrent facial pain, swelling in the jaw line, lock jaw, loss of the ability to open your mouth wide, inability to stop clenching or grinding your teeth (asleep or awake), and much more. Using innovative digital imaging technology, Dr. Cantu can help determine your condition and the appropriate way to treat it.
TMJ and Symptoms
Having a disorder in your temporomandibular joint (which connects the jaw to your skull), can be extremely painful. You may not think about how much you use these joints (chewing, speaking, yawning, singing, and swallowing) until they start to hurt or cause other symptoms when they are not in proper shape or alignment. Here are a few of the life-interfering symptoms of TMJ:
- Limited movement of your jaw joint while chewing or opening your mouth (also referred to as lock jaw)
- Your teeth do not fit together like they used to (misalignment of top and bottom teeth)
- Having headaches, migraines, or neck pains often
- Pain, muscle spasms, and stiffness in the jaw area
- Stuffiness and ringing of your ears, which may also be painful
- When your jaw moves, it makes a popping or clicking sound
If you recognized some of these symptoms as some of your own, Dr. Cantu will consult with you to find the solution.
What to Expect
We will perform a series of tests and diagnostic imaging services to help diagnose what is wrong with your jaw. Dr. Cantu will recommend the least invasive treatments before suggesting a more invasive approach.
After your examination and imaging, there are many suggestions we can make as not every TMJ patient is the exact same. Here are some of our typical recommendations:
- Bite realignment and adjustment on your teeth
- Jaw exercises as prescribed by Dr. Cantu
- The consistent use of an oral appliance, such as a retainer or night guard while you sleep
- Orthodontic treatments
- Surgical orthodontics
Whichever treatment is chosen in your treatment planning, we will do our best to help you relieve your pain, and keep your smile healthy!
The most common way to treat TMJ initially is with a night guard, which can be custom fitted at our dental practice. It is best to avoid chewy foods and eat a softer diet until the pain decreases and is under control. You may want to rest your jaw more often, and be consistent in wearing the oral appliance that protects your bite from resting at an uncomfortable angle. Keeping your posture in check can also help. Follow all the recommendations for your treatment and pain management without the use of medication or muscle relaxers, if they are not needed.
If you are wondering what other things you can do to limit jaw and facial pain, here is a list of tips to try to improve your situation:
- Limit how much you chew gum. The constant motion will aggravate and inflame the jaw joints.
- Do your best to not clinch and grind your teeth, especially when you are stressed out.
- When you are eating, move the food to both sides of your mouth while chewing. Many people favor a certain side to chew on, and this can cause unnecessary pain from over use.
- When you are sitting, or lying down for long periods of time, do not prop your chin on anything (your hand, arm, or pillow) as the pressure puts undue stress on your face and jaw. This can make you face and jaw really sore over time.
- Keep your facial expressions relaxed, and have good posture. Not only will you look better, but feel healthier, too. Poor posture includes keeping your chin up, back tall and straight, and not slumping your shoulders.
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Less Jaw & Face Pain Today
We would like to extend a complimentary consultation at our dental practice at your earliest convenience. We can help relieve jaw discomfort, even if it comes and goes, with pain management strategies, oral appliances (night guards), or other treatments. For whatever the reason is for your pain, we will help you treat this painful condition of the jaw. Call today for your private assessment in our office.