A clicking or popping sound when you open your mouth wide could be an indication that you have a problem with your temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ and TMD. The joint which hinges your jaw allows for side to side movement and chewing. When it is overused or fatigued, a variety of issues resulting in discomfort can arise.
TMJ/TMD can be felt in your jaw as the muscles become irritated. However, you may also experience headache pain or discomfort in your ear, neck or shoulders. Radiating pain is not uncommon with TMJ/TMD.
Clenching or grinding the teeth often is the cause. Stress can cause some individuals to react with clenching or grinding their teeth while awake, and often while sleeping. This disorder can also be caused by an injury, such as a blow to the head or jaw. Pain from TMJ/TMD is also a byproduct of misaligned teeth.
A diagnosis for the condition begins with a thorough a dental examination. After an examination and possible testing or diagnostics, your dentist will create a treatment plan. Some situations may resolve on their own in time, while others may require targeted exercises to reduce the pain. More extensive treatment is reserved for severe or chronic cases of TMJ/TMD.
Jaw Pain, Facial Pain Relief
The continuous pressure exerted on the teeth and temporomandibular joint can cause damage to the teeth in addition to discomfort. Clenching creates tremendous stress on the joint and can result in joint fatigue, swelling or inflammation.
In mild cases, pain relief is available with over-the-counter pain relievers. Certain exercises targeted for the jaw muscles may also provide relief. When these measures do not provide expected results, your dentist may recommend a dental nightguard. This device fits in the mouth, covering the teeth and providing a cushion so the upper and lower teeth do not touch.
Most TMJ/TMD conditions are adequately relieved with non-invasive measures. Find out more about pain relief options by contacting Family Smiles Dental. Schedule your appointment for an examination and consultation. Get the needed relief from your jaw and facial pain caused by TMJ/TMD.