Posts for tag: jaw pain
Chronic jaw pain can be an unnerving experience that drains the joy out of life. And because of the difficulty in controlling it patients desperate for relief may tread into less-tested treatment waters.
Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are a group of conditions affecting the joints connecting the lower jaw to the skull and their associated muscles and tendons. The exact causes are difficult to pinpoint, but stress, hormones or teeth grinding habits all seem to be critical factors for TMD.
The most common way to treat TMD is with therapies used for other joint-related problems, like exercise, thermal (hot and cold) applications, physical therapy or medication. Patients can also make diet changes to ease jaw function or, if appropriate, wear a night guard to reduce teeth grinding.
These conservative, non-invasive therapies seem to provide the widest relief for the most people. But this approach may have limited success with some patients, causing them to consider a more radical treatment path like jaw surgery. Unfortunately, surgical results haven't been as impressive as the traditional approach.
In recent years, another treatment candidate has emerged outside of traditional physical therapy, but also not as invasive as surgery: Botox injections. Botox is a drug containing botulinum toxin type A, which can cause muscle paralysis. Mostly used in tiny doses to cosmetically soften wrinkles, Botox injections have been proposed to paralyze certain jaw muscles to ease TMD symptoms.
Although this sounds like a plausible approach, Botox injections have some issues that should give prospective patients pause. First, Botox can only relieve symptoms temporarily, requiring repeated injections with increasingly stronger doses. Injection sites can become painful, bruised or swollen, and patients can suffer headaches. At worst, muscles that are repeatedly paralyzed may atrophy, causing among other things facial deformity.
The most troubling issue, though, is a lack of strong evidence (outside of a few anecdotal accounts) that Botox injections can effectively relieve TMD symptoms. As such, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve its use for TMD treatment.
The treatment route most promising for managing TMD remains traditional physical and drug therapies, coupled with diet and lifestyle changes. It can be a long process of trial and error, but your chances for true jaw pain relief are most likely down this well-attested road.
If you would like more information on treating jaw disorders, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Botox Treatment for TMJ Pain.”
Don’t let jaw pain and discomfort affect your day-to-day life!
Do you notice jaw pain, particularly when eating or speaking? Do jaws feel tired or sore when first waking up? Do you often experience headaches in the morning? If so, then our Owings Mills, MD, general dentists, Drs. Herbert and Harold Mendelson, may just have the answer to why you are experiencing jaw pain.
While there are certainly some conditions or habits that are more likely to cause jaw pain, it’s important to get to the bottom of the issue to reduce the risk of pain and discomfort while eating, chewing or speaking. Your jaw pain could be due to:
Temporomandibular (TMJ) Disorder
This joint dysfunction disorder is one of the most common causes of jaw pain. Even though it isn’t always possible to be able to determine the cause of TMJ disorder, it can be the result of bad habits such as teeth grinding, structural deformities/abnormalities, a traumatic injury to the jaw joint or arthritis.
If your jaw pain is also accompanied by jaw stiffness or a popping/clicking sound when opening your mouth, then it’s time to turn to our Owings Mills dentists to find out if a TMJ disorder is to blame.
This habit can lead to jaw pain even without the presence of TMJ disorder. If you clench your jaws or grind your teeth then it seems only natural that putting all this unnecessary work on your jaws day in and day out can take a toll. Most people don’t even know that they are teeth grinders because they often do this while they are asleep.
Of course, by coming into our office every six months for routine care we can often pinpoint whether you are a teeth grinder. Fortunately, there are many ways to help eliminate this bad habit, from recommending certain stress-relieving exercises to making a custom mouthguard to wear while you sleep.
These are the two main oral causes of jaw pain; however, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t other problems that can lead to jaw problems. Sometimes sinus issues, a toothache or an abscess can also cause referral pain.
If you are dealing with painful, aching jaws and you can’t seem to get the problem under control then it’s time you turned to our Owings Mills, MD, dental experts at Mendelson Family Dentistry. Call our office today!
If you're suffering from jaw pain or impaired function, it may not be the only source of chronic pain in your body. Of the millions of adults with temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), many have also been diagnosed — among other conditions — with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis or sleep problems.
TMD is actually a group of painful disorders that affect the jaw joints, muscles and surrounding tissues. Besides pain, other symptoms include popping, clicking or grating sounds during jaw movement and a restricted range of motion for the lower jaw. Although we can't yet pinpoint a definite cause, TMD is closely associated with stress, grinding and clenching habits or injury.
It's not yet clear about the possible connections between TMD and other systemic conditions. But roughly two-thirds of those diagnosed with TMD also report three or more related health conditions. Debilitating pain and joint impairment seem to be the common thread among them all. The similarities warrant further research in hopes of new treatment options for each of them.
As for TMD, current treatment options break down into two basic categories: a traditional, conservative approach and a more interventional one. Of the first category, at least 90% of individuals find relief from treatments like thermal therapy (like alternating hot and cold compresses to the jaw), physical therapy, medication or mouth guards to reduce teeth clenching.
The alternative approach, surgery, seeks to correct problems with the jaw joints and supporting muscles. The results, however, have been mixed: in one recent survey a little more than a third of TMD patients who underwent surgery saw any improvement; what's more alarming, just under half believed their condition worsened after surgery.
With that in mind, most dentists recommend the first approach initially for TMD. Only if those therapies don't provide satisfactory relief or the case is extreme, would we then consider surgery. It's also advisable for you to seek a second opinion if you're presented with a surgical option.
Hopefully, further research into the connections between TMD and other inflammatory diseases may yield future therapies. The results could help you enjoy a more pain-free life as well as a healthy mouth.
If you would like more information on TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”