Do You Have an Aching Jaw and Symptoms like ‘Clicking’ & ‘Popping’ – You May Find This Article Helpful
The pain that an aching jaw brings can be one of the most uncomfortable feelings a person can experience. There are a number of reasons why a person experiences jaw ache, which is also called jaw joint dysfunction or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder); it is best to get detailed information about aching jaw problems to be able to deal with the issue in an effective way, and to prevent more serious dental problems from developing.
Causes of Aching Jaw & Jaw Joint Dysfunction
Issues or problems from an aching jaw or a jaw joint dysfunction can be the result of these three main causes:
Jaw Misalignment – In cases when the jaw is not properly aligned with skull, internal derangement can be the result, causing the joint to stop working properly and in a smooth manner. This is usually experienced when the thin disc inside the jaw joint, called the articular disc, is in the incorrect position; the joint can also stop working properly when the jaw is dislocated, or if there is an injury to the jaw joint. When the jaw is misaligned, the patient can usually hear an unusual grinding or clicking sound whenever the jaw is opened widely.
Myofascial Pain – Tension and pain in the face can cause jaw joint dysfunction. This pain and tension can be caused by any of the following: injury, stress, teeth grinding or teeth clenching (also called bruxism, especially when it is done unconsciously when the person is asleep at night), biting on hard surfaces periodically, and nail-biting – these activities can put unusual pressure on the jaw joint, causing it to be injured in the long run.
Jaw Joint Degeneration – Arthritis can cause the jaw joint to degenerate over time, which can in turn lead to an aching jaw. Injuries to the jaw area that can lead to arthritis include overstretching the joint when yawning, any forceful trauma to the jaw joint, or those that may happen during certain dental treatments.
Anatomy of a Jaw Joint ”The Yoint” – Clicking or Locking Jaw (TMJ - Temporomandibular Joint) Disorder. Apart from the Music, It’s a Very Good Educational Video
Symptoms of an Aching Jaw
Aside from the obvious symptom of pain or aching in the jaw area (which may or may not include the area around your ears, neck or cheeks), here are some of the symptoms you should be aware of that most likely result to an aching jaw:
- Cracking and/or clicking sound in your jaw joint, whenever you move your jaw. You will feel the discomfort that this sound can result to when you have an aching jaw when you chew, or when you open your mouth widely.
- Stiffness – If you have an aching jaw, you will also experience some degree of stiffness, which can then lead to not being able to open your mouth fully.
- Another sign that you have an aching jaw is when there is a difference in the way your teeth are aligned when you close your mouth. You will definitely feel that something is not right with the way your teeth are positioned when you close your mouth, and the upper and lower rows of teeth come in contact with one another.
- Some people who have an aching jaw may also experience jaw locking instances, which may last from a few seconds to a few fearful minutes.
- Another aching jaw symptom is severe headache. It is common for those with an aching jaw to experience headaches, as a result to the jaws not working properly whenever they are moved.
Diagnosis of an Aching Jaw
It may be challenging to diagnose an aching jaw because of the complexity of this joint, but proper and thorough analysis by a dentist should do the trick. You can expect your dentist to do a thorough examination of your teeth and jaw, as well as get your medical history, so a proper treatment program can be provided for your aching jaw once it is diagnosed properly.
Treatment Options for Jaw Joint Dysfunction & Aching Jaw
The treatment for an aching jaw will depend on the nature of the jaw joint dysfunction that one suffers from. The following methods are used to deal with the pain and discomfort brought about by an aching jaw:
Medicines Available for Aching Jaw – Paracetamol and ibuprofen are some of the over-the-counter medicines or painkillers that can be used to deal with the pain and discomfort that jaw joint dysfunction brings. It is best to carefully read the patient information with these medicines, and to consult the pharmacist for other questions or clarifications.
Non-Surgical Aching Jaw Treatments – A bite splint or mouth guard can be provided by the dentist if the patient is believed to be grinding or clenching his teeth, especially in an unconscious way when he is asleep. The bite splint is made from soft or hard plastic, which is custom-made to cover the lower of the upper teeth – to prevent the teeth from coming into contact with one another. The splint should be worn on a regular basis, and usually from four to six weeks, before improvements (pain lessened in the jaw joint area) can be noticeable.
Surgery Options for Aching Jaw – In rare cases when medicines and non-surgical dental treatments are not effective in dealing with jaw joint dysfunction problems, surgery can be done in the affected area. It is best to carefully go over the options available with the dentist or dental surgeon even before deciding on having surgery, to be able to completely prepare for the whole procedure.
Dealing with an Aching Jaw
An aching jaw is one of the most uncomfortable dental problems you can experience. Also called a tempromandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, an aching jaw arises from a variety of causes – which will eventually lead to a great deal of pain and discomfort for you, especially if your aching jaw is not given the proper attention it needs in the soonest possible time.
There are a number of ways to address the issue of an aching jaw. Your dentist may suggest doing some exercises for your jaw, as well as giving you a list of soft food items that will not involve too much chewing; painkillers and other medicines may also be given to relieve your discomfort.
A bite splint can also be given to address your aching jaw; this prevents your upper and lower teeth from coming into contact with one another. In severe aching jaw cases when surgery is needed, your jaw joints will be operated on, so you can live a life free from a truly uncomfortable aching jaw.
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