Jaw Ache Treatment

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Dr. Bothma has done extensive training in neuromuscular dentistry and treatment of TMJ. TMJ Disorder (TMJ or TMD) or “Jaw Ache” as it is commonly referred to, is a problem involving the Temporomandibular joint and the muscles used in chewing. Sometimes this joint and the surrounding muscles can become irritated and inflamed. Though the causes of TMJ (stress, tooth grinding, missing teeth or a misaligned bite) can vary, TMJ issues can cause multiple other problems such as migraines, neck and shoulder tension, and even upper back pain.

Jaw Ache TMJ Treatment Orange – What are the causes of Jaw Ache?

When we close our mouth, that’s known as our bite, and the dental term is occlusion. It can be well-aligned or misaligned. When it’s misaligned, stress builds up in the jaw muscles, eventually pressuring the nerves and causing pain.

There can be many causes of jaw ache which includes:

  • Clenching and/or grinding (some people do this in their sleep and don’t even know it!)
  • Misaligned (crooked) teeth – a very common cause!
  • Stress
  • Sports injuries, car accidents, bar fights
  • Poor sleeping habits
  • Poor pillow or mattress support
  • and so many more!

TMJ Treatment – Eliminating Jaw Ache by correcting your bite

Once a neutral and relaxed jaw position has been determined, we will determine the best ways to make it permanent. That could include a number of TMJ treatments and strategies:

  • Designing a custom orthotic, a mouthpiece or splint that can be worn to retrain the jaw muscles. It fits over your back teeth, but stays invisibly behind the front teeth. It’s not uncomfortable, but gently nudges your bite towards a relaxed position.
  • Reshaping teeth, or moving them.
  • If your jaw ache was caused by an injury to the jaw joint, surgery is sometimes appropriate and you will be referred to the appropriate surgeon.
  • Sometimes anti-inflammatory drugs are used, at least for a while. • Physical therapy might be used in retraining the jaw muscles.
  • Hard foods might be avoided for a while, to give the jaw muscles a better chance of resting and relearning.
  • Psychotherapy might be used to help you let go of tension or anxiety. 
  • In most cases, a customised combination of treatments are utilised.

In general, treatment is at first conservative. If simpler neuromuscular dentistry strategies don’t work, more vigorous options can be used.

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