What to do if I have a Sore Jaw?

What to do if I have a Sore Jaw?

Jaw pain is one of the common concerns people have when they present to the dental clinic. There are many possible causes including sinus or ear problems, toothache, neuralgia, headache/migraine, trauma to the jaw or even a heart attack. The most common cause is temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. It’s important to eliminate other possible causes of jaw pain before treating the patient for TMJ symptoms, thus clinical examination and x-rays are essential.

The symptoms of TMJ disorder may include pain on opening or closing mouth, limitations on jaw movements, clicking/popping noises, tenderness of jaw muscles, headaches, tooth wear due to grinding or clenching. Often the pain is concentrated on one side of the jaw and patients report there are precipitating stressful events in their lives.

Treatment of a sore jaw will depend on the cause of the pain. For TMJ disorder, conservative treatments are generally recommended. These can include:

  • Moist heat/ice packs
  • Gentle physiotherapy exercises
  • Muscle relaxants
  • A night guard/splint
  • Botox injections.

A soft diet, gentle massages of the affected area may also help. At Caulfield South Dental Surgery we generally recommend a combination of the above to symptomatically relieve TMJ disorder pain. Our patients report a cessation of pain 2-4 weeks after the use of a customer-made splint.

If you have suffered from a chronic sore jaw or noted if symptoms are consistent with TMJ disorder please contact our surgery on (03) 9523 7530.


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