Why does my jaw hurt?

TMJ Therapy, Severna Park, MDDo you wake up with a sore jaw, grind your teeth, experience persistent headaches, or feel tension in your jaw? You might be suffering from a TMJ disorder. Dentists like Dr. V. Lynn Morgan of Severna Park, MD can diagnose and treat problems with the jaw to give you relief from your jaw pain and its related discomfort.

What is TMJ?

TMJ, or temporomandibular joints, refers to more than jaw pain. TMJ is actually the name of the joints in the jaw that make it possible to open and close your mouth. These joints are located on either side of your skull and work together with muscles and ligaments attached to the jaw bone to enable you to chew, swallow, and speak. They also control the mandible, which is the lower part of the jaw that moves forward, backward, and side-to-side.

There is a disc between the ball and socket of each TMJ. This disc helps the jaw open wide, rotate, and glide smoothly. A problem with this intricate system of muscles and joints is referred to a TMJ disorder, with several possible causes and symptoms. Dr. Morgan can help alleviate the discomfort and dental issues caused by TMJ disorders.

What Causes TMJ Problems?

Possible causes of TMJ disorders include:

  • Alignment of jaw and teeth
  • Teeth grinding due to stress
  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Dislocation

Diagnosis and Treatment of TMJ Disorders

Your dentist will need to examine your jaw and oral health before determining the best treatment. A typical exam includes checking muscles and joints of the jaw for clicking, popping, tenderness, or difficulty of motion.

There are several ways to treat TMJ disorders, some of which you can do at home before extensive treatment is needed. These at-home remedies may help alleviate discomfort, but you should always see your dentist to keep the problem under control.

  • Eat softer foods
  • Avoid chewing gum and nail biting
  • Practicing relaxation techniques to alleviate tension in the jaw
  • Applying heat to the painful area

Dr. Morgan may also recommend additional treatments for more severe TMJ disorders, such as:

  • Muscle relaxants, analgesics, or anti-inflammatory medications
  • Exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles
  • Mouth guard or bite plate to reduce teeth grinding

TMJ Treatment in Severna Park, MD

There are other treatments available for more serious TMJ problems, but Dr. Morgan will perform an individual consultation with you to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. To schedule with Dr. Morgan, call 410.415.9015 or request an appointment online.