Understanding Pain and Problems in the Jaw

Disorders affecting the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can lead to jaw pain, reduced jaw mobility, or popping sensations when chewing or opening the mouth. Problems may result after injury or may be due to poor dental alignment or joint degradation. Behavioral and home remedies are often effective for alleviating symptoms. A person with jaw discomfort may find relief by avoiding excess chewing motions, making a conscious effort to relax the jaw throughout the day or applying heat. Of note, some excess jaw movements occur during sleep and use of a nightguard may be helpful for some people. Sometimes, medicines may help to relax the jaw or relieve pain. More aggressive dental or orthodontic treatments may be tried in some cases for which the above approaches offer limited success. Because disorder of the TMJ have multiple causes and affect people in different ways, consultation with a dentist is needed for developing appropriate treatment plans.