Jaw Ache: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
A variety of things could cause TMJ problems. It could be one or more of the following factors:
A history of clenching
A history of grinding teeth
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:
Pain or tenderness of your jaw
Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints (highlighted on the image)
Earache and headache
Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
Locked jaw, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
Clicking sounds when opening/closing
Waking up with jaw discomfort (common when grinding/clenching in your sleep)
There are a variety of treatments available to help ease signs and symptoms of TMJ problems, depending on what the cause could be.
Exercises - your dentist may recommend you start with some simple jaw exercises to help ease pain. This is a simple and non-invasive way to potentially help. Your dentist could also recommend a number of relaxation techniques.
Bite guard - your dentist may recommend a bite guard to wear at night or whenever you've noticed you clench/grind the most. This puts a protective barrier to prevent damage to teeth and in some cases helps break the habit of clenching and grinding.
Splint - a splint would be made from a hard acrylic and is used to help re-programme the mouth, hence putting less pressure on your TMJ.
Botox - Botox is a muscle relaxant. It would help relax the muscles around your TMJ reducing clenching/grinding.
In some rare cases surgical intervention may be the only option.