Temporomandibular Joint or TMJ disorder causes mild or severe discomfort, depending on your particular situation. This joint connects your jawbone to your skull. It works similar to a hinge. An injury to the jaw or even arthritis can cause the joint and surrounding tissue to become inflamed and painful. Long-term teeth grinding is another possible cause of such joint pain. The exact cause, though, is sometimes hard to determine. Usually, discomfort in your jaw is temporary. However, if you have persistent pain, you should see a dentist for evaluation and treatment. Various options exist, which alone or in combination can provide relief.

Medication — Nonprescription pain relievers are often sufficient to take care of the pain. If not, your dentist can prescribe something stronger. Muscle relaxants are effective as well and are usually only needed for a short time.

Occlusal Appliance — If medication alone doesn’t work, wearing a night guard or bite splint could help. These plastic devices repair your bite and can ease jaw pain. Patients wear night guards exclusively at night. Bite splints, worn day and night, are an alternate choice and used for advanced cases of TMJ disorder.

Surgery — When nothing else helps, surgery is the last result. Small needles, inserted into the joint, allow the use of irrigation to remove anything that might cause inflammation. In more involved cases, a surgeon can use a scope to look at the joint and then remove any scar tissue or other material that might be causing pain.

Always consult a dentist for any issues of jaw pain that persist. For more information about TMJ disorder or other dental issues, please contact Exquisite Smiles today. We care about your teeth, gums, and overall dental health!