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Jaw Problems and How You Can Prevent Them

Jaw Problems and How You Can Prevent Them

9th Nov 2018
It’s been estimated that up to 30% of adults will experience Jaw problems at some point in their lives. 
Jaw joint dysfunction is a group of conditions that can cause joint pain. They can stop your jaw joint and the muscles that control the movement of your jaw from working correctly.

What are the symptoms?

Joint noise such as clicking, popping or grating noises as you chew or move your mouth 
Pain, likely in the muscle around your jaw joint. It may also be in front of the ear and may spread to the cheek, ear and temple 
Difficulty opening the mouth – the jaw may feel tight, as if it is stuck, making eating difficult 
Headache or migraine 
Your symptoms may be worse when you’re chewing or if you’re feeling stressed. 
You may be able to manage these symptoms at home, without seeing your dentist. But if they get worse or don’t improve within a few days, contact us to book an advice appointment with your dentist.

What are the causes?

Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth during sleep (bruxism) – these overwork the jaw muscles and puts pressure on the joint (often caused by stress) 
Stress – some people may inherit increased sensitivity to pain or stress 
Wear and tear of the inside of the jaw joint – usually caused by osteoarthritis 
Specific diseases – Associated with specific diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout or fibromyalgia 
Injury to the jaw joint – for example, after a blow to the face or surgery 
Uneven bite – for example, when new fillings, dental crowns or dentures are fitted or when teeth are removed and not replaced. 
However, some people may develop TMD without an obvious cause being found.

How is it treated?

If you have any of the above symptoms, book in for an appointment with your dentist and they can diagnosis and discuss your treatment options. 
Generally, non-surgical treatments such as lifestyle changes and self-help treatments are tried first. 
Lifestyle changes 
Resting the joint by eating soft food and avoiding chewing gum 
Holding a warm or cold flannel to the jaw for 10-20 minutes, several times a day 
Doing a few gentle jaw-stretching exercises – your Dentist will provide you with the appropriate exercises. 
Avoiding opening the joint too wide until the pain settles 
Avoiding clenching the teeth for long periods of time 
Massaging the muscles around the joint 
Relaxation techniques to relieve stress 
Not resting your chin on your hand 
Mouth guards (plastic devices that fit over your teeth) may be helpful if you grind your teeth.

If you think you may be suffering with Jaw problems, call us on 01772 458855 and book in to see your dentist.