Jaw pain is a common problem that affects between 5-12% of the American population at any given time. When left untreated, jaw pain can negatively impact your quality of life, making it difficult to bite, chew, or speak. At West End Dental in Downtown Washington, DC, Lauren Izadi, DDS, Edward Kim, MS, DDS, and the team diagnose and treat jaw pain using safe, effective means. To schedule an appointment, book a consultation online, or call the office to speak with a member of the administrative staff today.
Jaw pain refers to any discomfort, swelling, or aching that affects the jaw. The most common cause of jaw pain is temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Your TMJ joints connect your jaw to your skull and mimic sliding hinges, allowing you to bite, speak, and chew.
Experts aren’t entirely sure what causes TMJ disorders, but it’s thought that several factors contribute, including genetics, stress, and habits like jaw clenching or teeth grinding.
Common symptoms of jaw pain include:
If you have jaw pain, you might also experience a clicking or popping sensation whenever you open your mouth to speak or yawn.
If you regularly experience jaw pain, it’s important to seek professional medical help. When left untreated, TMJ disorders may cause your symptoms to worsen and spread to other parts of your body, such as the neck or head.
Additionally, if your jaw pain is due to a misaligned bite or teeth grinding, you might damage your teeth by eroding the outer layer of enamel. Over time, this increases your risk of other oral health problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
To diagnose jaw pain, your West End Dental provider conducts an oral exam, reviews your oral health history, and asks about your symptoms and lifestyle. Afterward, the team takes digital X-rays to get a closer look at your temporomandibular joints and jaw.
Treatment for jaw pain depends on the underlying cause and severity of your symptoms. Whenever possible, the team at West End Dental recommends conservative measures of care, such as custom-molded bite guards. You wear a bite guard at night to prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
If your jaw pain persists, even after using a bite guard, realignment may be necessary. Realignment adjusts the relationship between your upper and lower teeth. It’s a quick procedure performed in-office under local anesthesia. If necessary, your provider might recommend new restorations or oral prosthetics as well.
If jaw pain is negatively affecting your quality of life, schedule an appointment at West End Dental. Book a consultation online, or call the office to speak with a member of the administrative team today.