Few things in life feel as bad as jaw pain does. While it might cause some minor discomfort when you eat or speak, it can also cause intense pain that affects your daily life. Some experience pain on only one side of their jaw, but others feel pain along the entire jawline and into the head or neck, too. Before you look at what you can do to get some relief and how a dentist can help, you should look at the potential causes of your pain.
What Causes Pain in Your Jaw?
The causes of your pain can include:
TMJ is one of the more common causes. This condition affects the temporomandibular joints, which help the jaw function and sit just below your ears. Often caused by some type of injury to the jawbone, TMJ syndrome can also occur due to arthritis and similar conditions as well as swelling in your muscles. Some suffer TMJ pain because they grind their teeth, too. If you have TMJ issues, you may find that your pain worsens due to stress.
Those suffering from TMJ syndrome often exhibit other symptoms, too, including headaches, pain that shoots along the jaw and/or into their ears, dizziness, and problems seeing. You may find that your jaw makes a clicking sound, too, especially when you open and close it.
If you turned to Google to search for “remedies for pain in my jaw,” you may find that you suffer from a simple toothache. A toothache often occurs because of damage to the tooth or a cavity. Once the cavity eats away at the enamel, it can leave behind a dark brown or black spot on your tooth that you can see in a mirror. A cavity deep inside the tooth is impossible to see at home.
Those who are younger may experience pain as their wisdom teeth come in also. These teeth sit in the back of your mouth and typically erupt during your teenage years. When you seek jaw pain treatment in Boca Raton, you might talk to a dentist who recommends removing your wisdom teeth to curb your pain. This is available as an outpatient procedure that takes a few hours or less. The causes of jaw pain that lead to moderate or severe pain can include a broken or dislocated jaw, too.
Home Remedies for Jaw Pain
Thanks to some simple jaw pain remedies, you can treat your pain at home until you see a doctor. Using an ice pack or a heating pad is a good option. If you use an ice pack, place it inside a plastic bag, and then wrap the bag in a towel or soft cloth. This keeps the ice from leaking out as it melts and helps you avoid injuring your face. You’ll want to leave the ice on the side of your jaw for no more than 10 minutes. Heating pads work equally well when used in 10-minute increments. Try both remedies to see which one works best for you.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of the pain in your jaw and you are worried that you have TMJ, try jaw massages. Use your fingers to slowly knead the muscles located below your cheeks and behind the molars. Kneading and placing pressure on those muscles can relieve some of your pain. When you seek jaw pain treatment in Boca Raton, the doctor may suggest stretches that can help, too. All you need to do is open and close your mouth several times. Try opening your mouth as wide as you can and holding it for a few seconds before releasing it. These massages help relax your muscles and fight back against TMJ pain.
Depending on the level of pain that you have, you might try over-the-counter medications, too. Ibuprofen helps with both inflammation and pain, which makes it a good choice. You should only take a maximum of two pills per dose and follow the guidelines listed on the bottle. Acetaminophen is a popular alternative that can help with discomfort. These medications are available at most pharmacies and do not require a prescription.
Making Changes to Your Lifestyle
Those looking at how to find relief at home may find it helpful to make a few lifestyle changes. Practicing yoga or meditation can help you battle the stress that worsens your symptoms. If you find that hard and crunchy foods make your pain worse, switch your diet. Applesauce and soup are just a few dishes that you can eat without chewing. You may find that you need to avoid fresh fruits and vegetables due to the discomfort that you feel while chewing them.
Though jaw pain remedies can help curb some of your pain, there’s no guarantee that those remedies will solve all of your problems. Seeking medical help allows you to try other treatment options that can eliminate all of your pain. One option is a Botox injection, which the doctor places directly into the jawline. Botox essentially freezes the muscle and can stop your pain.
Prescription medications can help as well. A muscle relaxant, for instance, can be used if you want relief. This is the same medication that doctors prescribe to patients suffering from sciatica and back pain. It relaxes the muscles in your jaw and can relieve some of your other symptoms. The doctor will typically send you home with a prescription that lasts for a few weeks or longer, which gives you time to see if the medication works or if you want to try a different treatment.
The doctor you see for the pain in your jaw may recommend the use of a mouthguard, too, especially if you grind your teeth or clench your jaw. Usually made from plastic, the guard fits inside your mouth and keeps you from grinding your teeth when you are stressed or as you sleep at night. Though you can get a mouthguard from the drugstore, it’s better to see a dentist and have one custom-made for your mouth.
Once the doctor rules out various causes of jaw pain, surgery might be your next option. Surgery is a rare treatment used when your jaw is misaligned or you experience pain that no other remedy can treat. This is also a good option for those who have crowded mouths and those missing multiple teeth.
While pain in your jaw can cause discomfort and affect your life, you don’t need to leave the problem untreated. Finding the cause of your pain is the first step. You can then learn more about your treatment options. Dental and Facial Aesthetics of South Florida can help you live a life free from pain. Call today to schedule an appointment to talk about your pain with a specialist.