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Jaw cramps

Announcer: Health information from expects, supported by research. Interviewer: Dr. Gary Lowder is a practicing dentist at the University of Utah School of Dentistry and also a professor there as well.


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I recently felt pain that begins in my lower jaw and goes up the side of my face toward the temple. What would cause this, and should I be concerned? There are several conditions to consider, a couple of which require prompt treatment. The most common cause of this type of pain is an irritated nerve.

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This can be done by applying moist heat to the face with exercises, using prescribed muscle relaxants or other medications, massaging the muscles, and eating soft, non-chewy foods.

What could cause my sudden jaw pain?

All or some of the above treatments will likely be employed in combination for both short-term healing and long-term maintenance of health. He is trained to diagnose and treat jaw t disorders. Heart disease, sinus infection, spinal problems, improper nutrition, inadequate hydration fluidsand stress are also contributing factors.

The end result of this spasm-pain-spasm cycle may eventually be a TMJ Disorder.

Jaw spasms symptoms, causes & statistics

Improperly aligned teeth can sometimes place the chewing muscles under stress and cause them to go into spasm, thus setting off the harmful cycle described earlier. Oral habits such as clenching the teeth or grinding the teeth bruxism can cause TMJ pain. If your bite is incorrect or uneven, it can be adjusted by selective bite adjustment of the teeth.

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Paula is under a great deal of pressure from work. Some common methods of treating TMJ Disorders are:. Correction of the problem can involve treating the bite of one or of several teeth. Gum-chewing is harmful to the ts and should be avoided.

Symptoms and complications

If emotional stress is the factor that causes clenching or grinding of the teeth, that stress should be reduced or eliminated. It is important to avoid stressful neck positions at work and home. For a long time, dentists thought all TM disorders were caused solely by malocclusions or problems with the way the teeth fit together, causing pain and dysfunction in the TMJ t and surrounding muscles. Physical therapy, nutritional supplementation, life-style guidance, and coping skills may help.

This causes muscle spasm and, eventually, pain and tenderness in her jaw muscles.

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Problems in the way the teeth fit together, or bite, can initiate TMJ Disorders. The temporomandibular t TMJ is the t that connects the jaw to the skull.

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The repeated chewing trauma causes internal derangement of the t; the inner parts of the t do not work together in harmony. A MORA, or bite splint, may be used to help diagnose a bite problem, aid in healing of the ts and muscles, and provide long-term support of the ts and muscles in the correct position. Gum chewing should always be avoided to minimize trauma to the TM ts and stress on the muscles.

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Finkel is recognized in the treatment of TMJ disorders. Bite plates or occlusal bite splints may be required to relax the muscles, to decompress the jaw ts, and to protect the teeth.

Jaw pain: it's not just stress

Other components of treatment programs for TMJ Disorders include soft-food diets, massage, moist heat applications, bite adjustments, bite appliances, physical therapy, and relaxation exercises. Many people suffer from jaw and bite problems, without realizing that those problems can be resolved. These habits can tire the muscles and cause them to go into spasm. Finkel studied with Dr. Barnie Jankelson and Dr. With his advanced training and experience, Dr. Finkel can determine what type of headache or jaw pain therapy is right for you.

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TMJ therapy may include improvements in nutrition, fluid intake, sleep hygiene, and daily exercise; special jaw and neck exercises may also be prescribed for your condition. Gum chewing in females, especially young women, has been shown to cause TM t popping, clicking, and pain. Referred pain from the temporomandibular t and muscles can mimic ear or sinus infections, and cause pain in the head, neck, shoulders, back, or eyes.

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Finkel can relieve muscle spasms and relax your muscles, allowing the jaw t to regain its natural position. Posture training and breathing training may be needed, as may avoiding harmful habits such as overly-aggressive chewing, hard foods, and gum chewing. Some of the most common symptoms are the following:. In addition to his training in general and cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Finkel has completed hundreds of hours of advanced dental training in the field of neuromuscular dentistry. After initial Phase I therapy, it may be worn nightly and full-time during periods of stress.

Orthodontic appliance braces and other dental procedures may also be used to reduce problems caused by incorrect tooth contact improperly aligned teeth. She develops a new chewing pattern, and this increases the muscle spasm. This never seemed to be much of a problem for him, but now his bad bite triggers tooth clenching and causes his chewing muscles to function incorrectly.

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The spasm causes pain which, in turn, causes more spasm. Correction can also involve braces or surgery to move all the teeth into a bite position that properly supports the ts and muscles of the face. We now know that TM disorders are really a group of several different disorders, each with unique causes and each requiring unique treatments, but all related to how the jaws, ts, muscles, and teeth work together.

Excessive chewing could cause jaw pain

These disorders are often characterized by a vicious cycle of muscle spasm, pain, tenderness, tissue damage, more muscle spasm, and further injury. She develops a habit of grinding her teeth while sleeping. To begin solving and treating your cramp and dysfunction problem requires evaluation and diagnosis of specific ailment s of the ts, muscles, nerves, ligaments, tendons, teeth, habits and function, prior to targeted treatment and therapy. Dentists use a wide range of treatments to manage TMJ Disorders, from drug jaw with muscle relaxants to surgery. Any disruption in this intricate, harmonious relationship between muscles and bones, however, can trigger the chronic facial discomfort of a temporomandibular TM disorder.

In many women, continued gum chewing in permanent t damage, improper function, and future TMJ problems. The MORA may be initially worn full-time, out only to eat and clean, for diagnosis and to aid in initial healing. Harmful habits are a major cause of TMJ pain and include bruxing, pipe-smoking, pencil-biting, and gum-chewing.

Understanding jaw pain: how to find relief

Ever since he was a boy, David, has had teeth that do not fit together correctly when his mouth is closed. Most of us can chew, yawn, open, and close our mouths effortlessly; our jaws and surrounding facial muscles work together in harmony. Biofeedback can also be helpful in reducing muscle tension in the neck, jaws, and face.