Jaw pain is a very common dental concern that we treat at Coastal Cosmetic + Implant Dentistry. Often, there are underlying dental concerns that are causing or contributing to your jaw pain. Here are our three best tips to help you manage your jaw pain:
Eat Soft Foods
When your jaw joints are inflamed or injured, it’s important to go easy on them until the pain subsides. Avoid eating excessively crunchy or chewy snacks like popcorn, mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, or sticky candies. These kinds of snacks require a lot of intensive chewing, which will only further irritate your jaw joints. Instead, opt for softer foods and liquids during a flare-up of jaw pain. We suggest smile-friendly, dentist-approved snacks like string cheese, fruit smoothies, or yogurt to help nourish your dental health as you wait for the pain to subside. You may also take any over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen with a light snack to help manage your pain.
Often, jaw pain occurs when patients are under a great deal of stress. As a response to stress, patients will clench their jaw or grind their teeth together, which irritates the jaw joints. This especially happens to patients who have a history of grinding their teeth together in their sleep. It’s important to practice stress management exercises if you feel yourself struggling to keep your jaw relaxed. Deep breathing exercises before bed can help you prevent grinding your teeth together in your sleep. It’s important to ensure that you are calm and comfortable before going to sleep so that you are not going to bed stressed out or anxious, as this may lead to jaw clenching or even facial pain. Leave yourself reminders around your workspace to relax your jaw, or set reminders on your phone to perform periodic jaw stretches to relieve tension.
Consider TMJ Treatment Options
Jaw pain is often an indication that you have a TMJ disorder. Few dentists and physicians are trained and experienced at diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders; however, our doctors are. Dr. Cappy Sinclair and Dr. Mark Reichley have completed advanced post-graduate training to learn the fundamentals of TMJ disorders as well as the latest techniques for treating this complex condition. For patients with TMJ disorders, we can help you find a long-term solution for your jaw pain by treating the underlying dental concerns causing your pain. Treatment plans will depend on the source of your jaw pain, though they may include straightening your bite pattern, replacing missing teeth, or even oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy involves the use of a removable device that helps to keep the teeth and jaw in proper position during sleep and prevent teeth grinding or clenching. The oral appliance may be a splint, mouth guard, or night guard.
If you experience frequent jaw pain, tension headaches, earaches, or facial pain, please contact our dentist office to learn more about your treatment options. We look forward to seeing you soon!