When you are experiencing chronic or periodic jaw pain, the symptoms can be both mysterious and somewhat confusing. You might not be sure whether it’s a problem that dentists are able to address or whether you should consult your family physician instead. As you think about your symptoms, remember that your dentist specializes in the face, head, and neck—not just the inside of the mouth.
If you are living with discomfort in the jaw, you could be experiencing symptoms of a TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder. It’s a condition that can be treated in the dental office, though it might also require the expertise of an oral surgeon.
A TMJ disorder can result in pain when the muscles that control the opening and closing of the jaw become overworked or stressed. Think about the way that the jaw and facial muscles must be overworked when you clench or grind your teeth constantly. This can take place while you are asleep or when you are awake, but the repetitive motion can certainly take a toll on the ligaments and muscles in your face and jaw. In fact, the discomfort can also extend to include headaches and neck pain.
In the dental office, this type of disorder can sometimes be resolved with anti-inflammatory medications, relaxation methods, and minor bite adjustments. When these methods cannot provide you with long-term relief, more definitive treatments may be necessary.
Custom-designed bite guards are useful for stabilizing the position of your jaw and promoting relaxation within the jaw muscles, and in more severe cases, oral surgery might be recommended. Of course, surgery is typically the last resort when all other methods prove to be ineffective, but it’s an option that can provide much-needed relief for patients who are suffering with pain and headaches.
To find out more about TMJ disorders and the treatments that are offered by your dentist and oral surgeon, call the office of Dr. Carlos Ibanez for a consultation. Call 434-295-0911 today.