What Is Causing My Jaw Pain?

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
March 06, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj   jaw pain  

If you are experiencing periodic jaw pain, the cause might be TMJ disorder. TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. TMJ disorder jaw painoccurs when these joints become irritated, which causes pain and discomfort in the jaw area. Fortunately, there are treatments that can alleviate the pain or for long-lasting relief. For treatment of TMJ disorder in Columbus, GA, Dr. Phillip Tully can help. He treats TMJ and provides a variety of family dentistry services, as well.

What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder occurs when the temporomandibular joints are irritated. These are the joints that connect the jawbone to the skull on each side of the head. Joint irritation can affect one or both joints in TMJ patients. Additionally, patients with TMJ disorder often experience a locked jaw sensation in which they cannot fully open their mouth. TMJ disorder can develop after sustaining an injury to the jaw or following the onset of arthritis. Other causes include stress, genetics and constantly grinding the teeth or clenching the jaw.

Symptoms of TMJ

There are several symptoms associated with TMJ disorder. In addition to the jaw area, pain or discomfort can be felt in the eyes, ears, mouth and neck. Headaches can also occur in conjunction with TMJ. Some specific symptoms that can occur with TMJ include:

  • Headaches or pain in the temple
  • A shooting pain up the back of the head
  • Ear aches or ear pain not due to an infection
  • A ringing or buzzing sensation in the ears
  • Jaw joints that click, pop or grind together
  • Frequent grinding or clenching of the teeth
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Shoulder aches
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • A locked jaw
  • Inability to open the mouth all the way

Treatment of TMJ

In Columbus, TMJ disorder can be treated by an experienced dentist. Once the dentist confirms a TMJ diagnosis, they will discuss treatment options. The dentist can evaluate your condition and determine which treatments are most appropriate. Medications or heat and ice therapy are often recommended to alleviate the pain and discomfort that occur during a TMJ flare-up. To correct TMJ problems and prevent future flare-ups, the dentist can fit you with a Gelb appliance to improve jaw alignment.

There are a variety of factors that can cause TMJ disorder. No matter what the cause, the pain and discomfort of TMJ can be unbearable for those who suffer with it. Fortunately, treatments such as the Gelb appliance can provide long-lasting relief from TMJ related pain and discomfort by repositioning the jaw joints. For treatment of TMJ in Columbus, GA, contact the office of Dr. Tully by calling (706) 323-6491.