October 20, 2018
When you wake up one morning and your jaw hurts, you may simply attribute it to sleeping on it wrong. However, when your jaw starts hurting every morning and it’s beginning to affect your ability to chew foods, what do you do then?
The very next step you should take is calling a dentist and asking them about your TMJ in Lakeway. They can confirm what the problem is and provide a long-term solution.
Why Does My Jaw Hurt While Eating?
If you’re experiencing jaw pain while chewing, regardless of whatever food it is you’re eating, it’s likely that you’ve been clenching and grinding your teeth. Grinding and clenching are typically a sign of increased stress, but it can also occur as you sleep. This pressure only puts additional stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the lower jaw to the skull. Without treatment, this pain will only worsen and your teeth will begin to permanently erode. If you experience any of the following symptoms on top of your jaw pain, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a dentist. These symptoms include:
- Pain after talking
- Waking up with facial, neck or back pain
- Chronic pain in any of these areas throughout the day
- Unexplained headaches or earaches
How to Reduce Pain Before Your Visit
By visiting a dentist with experience in treating TMJ disorder, you can prevent the pain from occurring in the first place. However, you can start reducing pain before your visit even happens as well. To do this, start by changing your diet. Include softer foods that don’t require much biting force, including soups, stews, steamed vegetables, fish, pudding and smoothies. Avoid eating crunchy foods or chewing gum.
Next, apply wet moist pads to your face for at least 30 minutes a day. This will work to reduce inflammation and lower discomfort. Before going to bed, try to keep your head upright. Take 15 minutes to meditate or practice some yoga poses to reduce stress, as this is one of the most common culprits of grinding and clenching.
How the Dentist Can Help
Once you arrive at the dentist, you can tell them all your symptoms. After a thorough examination, they’ll be able to confirm if TMJ is present. One of the most common signs is enamel erosion, especially if your teeth are already healthy. There are many treatment options to choose from, including:
- Topical and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
- Bite splint therapy
- Physical therapy
- Hard splint therapy
By separating the teeth with a splint, a family dentist in Lakeway can help you create a level biting surface, help the muscles relax and prevent future bouts of jaw and facial pain. Schedule an appointment today if you’re experiencing chronic jaw pain and don’t know where else to turn!
About the Author
Dr. Daniel Eddy earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Dentistry. Thanks to his advanced training during his residency, he can help people solve a large variety of dental issues, including jaw pain caused by TMJ disorder. To learn more about his practice, you can contact him through his website.
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