Are you suffering from jaw pain? Are you unsure whether it’s something serious that you need to talk to your doctor or a dentist, especially a neuromuscular dentist, about? Here are some things to consider before seeking out professional help.
At-Home Remedies Don’t Work
One of the first things to do about jaw pain is to try at-home remedies. Massage your jaw joint. Apply heat or cold–or both in succession. Try eating soft food for a while, and avoid bad habits that can put stress on your jaw, such as chewing on non-foods, and resting your jaw on your hand.
You can also try relieving your pain with over-the-counter medication. Make sure you’re not using more than the recommended dosage, or for longer than the label says you should. If you have to take the medication for longer than recommended or if the recommended dosage doesn’t relieve your pain, it may be time to see the dentist.
Jaw Pain Interferes with Your Daily Routine
Jaw pain that prevents you from doing the things you normally do every day is another cause for concern. If your jaw pain is so severe that you can’t concentrate, can’t eat, can’t work, or can’t sleep, then you should schedule an appointment with a dentist.
You Have Irregular Jaw Motion
Your jaw should move smoothly and evenly through its entire normal range of motion. If it isn’t, then you should see a dentist. Common impairments in jaw motion include a sudden jump from one position to another (often accompanied by clicking or popping, see below), feeling like one side is moving more than the other, or not being able to open or close fully.
You Have Jaw Joint Sounds
When you have jaw pain that is accompanied by sounds, you should talk to a dentist. Common sounds like popping or clicking can indicate a dysfunction in your jaw joint. A more serious sound is grinding, which can indicate that the cushioning disk between your bones has eroded, and now your bones are rubbing directly against one another, which can lead to irreversible degenerative damage.
You Are Experiencing Symptoms beyond Your Jaw Joint
If you have jaw joint pain that is accompanied by symptoms elsewhere in your body, such as headaches, ear aches, neck pain, back pain, or others, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with a doctor or neuromuscular dentist.
If your jaw pain meets any of the above conditions, we encourage you to please call (303) 691-0267 at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado in Denver for an appointment.