TMJ (Jaw Joint) Pain
Many people experience popping, clicking, or painful jaw joints. Factors that can cause jaw pain are a blow to the jaw, extra wide or prolonged opening, biting a hard object, clenching, sliding, or grinding particularly at night.
TMJ pain is usually a dull ache located directly in front of the ear – in fact it is often thought to be an earache. Usually it occurs on one side. It frequently comes and goes, sometimes for months or years. If it is jaw joint pain moist heat, hot showers and massaging the muscles in front of the ear can help relieve symptoms. Also non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) pain relievers such as ibuprofen (same as advil, motrin) work well if the patient is able to take these medicines.
It is also important to avoid over stressing the jaw joint; it is recommended to avoid chewy foods, wide opening, and chewing gum. If grinding at night is occurring and the patient has a night guard it should be worn regularly.
Like all dental symptoms, if the problem persists, worsens, or becomes severe contact your dentist to properly diagnose and treat the condition. Severe problems sometimes require referral to medical or dental specialists.