If you have ever woken up with tightness or pain in your jaw, you may have been grinding your teeth in your sleep. Habits like teeth grinding and clenching can be a response to temporary periods of high stress and anxiety, or part of an ongoing problem. Dental problems like tooth decay or an infection can also trigger pain. Another common cause of jaw pain is TMD (temporomandibular disorders), which results from an injury or damage to the temporomandibular joint in the jaw. There are a number of possible underlying causes of jaw pain. Dr. Kara Mason, a general dentist at GentleDentalNYC in Midtown, NY. recommends scheduling an appointment if you are experiencing ongoing pain, stiffness, or sensitivity.
Jaw Pain Diagnosis and Treatment
The best way to prevent oral health problems and to catch problems early is to practice preventive dental care, which includes brushing your teeth after meals, flossing every day, eating a healthy diet and avoiding excessive sugar consumption, not smoking, and going to a general dentist for regular check ups and dental cleanings. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends making an appointment every six months. But if you are experiencing persistent jaw pain, don't wait until your next routine visit to schedule an appointment.
Why Your Jaw Hurts
Some of the most common causes of jaw pain include:
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Gum disease or tooth decay
Treatment options vary depending on what is causing your jaw pain. Teeth grinders may need to wear a night guard. TMD has several underlying causes as well and may be treated with a combination of medication, oral appliances, or lifestyle modifications and therapy depending on the severity and condition of the joint. Oral health problems like decay or gum disease may be treated with anything from antibiotics to clear up infection, to a dental filling or root canal therapy, depending on the issue.
Find a General Dentist in Midtown
For more information about TMD and other jaw pain causes and treatment options, contact GentleDentalNYC in Midtown by calling (212) 355-2195 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mason today.