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TMJ Pain

Temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition affecting the movement of the jaw. It’s not usually serious and generally gets better on its own.

Signs and symptoms of TMD include:

  • pain around your jaw, ear and temple
  • clicking, popping or grinding noises when you move your jaw
  • a headache around your temples
  • difficulty opening your mouth fully
  • your jaw locking when you open your mouth
  • The pain may be worse when chewing and when you feel stressed or in the morning when you wake up

TMD can also stop you getting a good night’s sleep. It is often caused by clenching or grinding your teeth at night. There are a group of muscles called the muscles of mastication that act to close your mouth. If these muscles are over worked via clenching or grinding they become fatigued and respire anaerobically producing  lactic acid and other metabolites that cause inflammation and pain in the muscles.

How to ease TMD

  • eat soft food, like pasta, omelettes and soup
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • hold ice packs or heat packs to the jaw, whichever feels better
  • massage the painful jaw muscles
  • try to find ways to relax
  • Get a thin, flexible mouthguard made by your dentsit

What to avoid

  • Chewing gum
  • Yawning too wide
  • Biting your nails
  • Clenching your teeth – apart from when eating, your teeth should be apart

TMJ is often temporary and can be extremely painful. At Gwynne Dental we will advise the most conservative treatments first such as painkillers, heat, massage and if there is no improvement in symptoms suggest making you a soft, flexible mouth guard. Please get in touch with us should you have any concerns.

Mechanisms of pain

Most commonly the pain is related to patients clenching or grinding their teeth at night. The muscles that close the mouth called the muscles of mastication become over worked and produce lactic acid. This can be extremely painful. Relaxing these muscles leads to the pain going.

Clenching your teeth can be a stress related issue.