Did you know that orthodontic treatment can help people who are experiencing relentless jaw pain? Having a sore jaw is often a symptom of tooth problems that can benefit from orthodontics. Jaw pain can also arise from a variety of problems like headaches, sinus pain, arthritis along with dental problems. For example, you might have pain from cavities or gum disease that have made their way to the jaws. Other times it involves a TMJ disorder from the temporomandibular joint (or TMJ) which connects the jaw to your skull.
Treating Jaw Pain with Orthodontics
TMJ problems often stem from issues with the bite such as misalignments. In this case, orthodontic treatments can solve those issues by aligning the teeth, restoring the proper bite, and lessening pressure on the jaws.
Orthodontics can be a life-changing solution when it comes to this kind of chronic jaw pain. While your teeth, jaw or throat might be leaving you in pain, our orthodontist, Dr. Igel, can evaluate both your head and neck regions to pinpoint the underlying issue. Normal evaluation by a doctor or dentist can often be tricky since the jaw is right in the middle of your head so the connection could be overlooked. That’s because the pain can radiate from various bones, nerves and connective tissues located in the craniofacial area of the head and neck.
Jaw Pain in the Neck and Head
Different types of jaw pain can arise from any of the following:
-Neck muscle issues often radiate outwards leaving you with jaw pain stemming from a pulled or strained muscle in your neck and shoulder area. Left untreated, this typically tends to worsen.
-A tooth abscess can over time lead to ear and jaw pain. You might also have facial swelling, an abscess (pus buildup) beneath your gum line, a painful blister on the gums and fever which will require antibiotic treatment.
-A sinus infection could leave you with mild or unbearable pressure in the sinuses, causing pain in the ears and jaw along with dizziness. Left untreated, a sinus infection typically worsens.
-Teeth grinding from bruxism can happen when you are awake or asleep and is often done unconsciously. This will eventually wear down tooth enamel, putting your teeth at higher risk of decay and breakage.
-Jaw pain from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) where the jaw joints don’t work properly, affecting your head and face and leaving you with chronic facial pain.
Orthodontic Treatment and TMJ Treatment
Nightguard: TMJ pain can be treated by wearing a nightguard to keep your teeth from grinding in your sleep. This lessens the pressure on your TMJ by allowing the joint to slide back into its proper position where it belongs.
Orthodontic Treatment: TMJ pain can be relieved by correcting a misaligned bite to get rid of pain and pressure on the jaw joints. By aligning your teeth across your jaws it can relieve jaw pain. Orthodontics does a great job of solving the bruxism problems of jaw clenching and teeth grinding, not just straightening teeth as it relieves stress on the jaw joints. When your teeth are properly aligned, the temporomandibular joint can move back into its proper position and you get the jaw pain relief you need!
Additional Pain Relief
You might also find relief for jaw pain by combining orthodontic treatment (for straightening teeth and correcting bite alignment) with muscle stimulation and stress management techniques to relieve tension in the jaw. It can also help to cut your food into smaller pieces, avoiding sticky, hard to chew foods and eating more soft foods to reduce pressure on the joints.
The good news is when using orthodontics to relieve your TMD jaw pain you can accomplish your goal whether you stick to traditional braces or clear aligners. There are many effective treatment options that can help improve your quality of life by reducing pain. If getting orthodontic treatment for your facial pain is something you would like to learn more about, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with our orthodontic team. You don’t have to live with chronic jaw pain!