Could TMJ Cause Toothaches?

by Sam Malone

Temporomandibular joint disorders are known to cause toothaches amongst other conditions. The temporomandibular joints are situated on either side of the head. The joint connects the lower jaw to the skull that helps you chew, talk and yawn. The temporomandibular joints surround the jaw and so people suffering from a TMJ disorder often experience toothaches.  

TMJ and tooth pain go hand in hand. Although we are still uncertain of what exactly causes TMJ disorders, one of the conditions that leads to any temporomandibular joint problems is teeth grinding and teeth clenching. If this a constant issue, then the teeth go through wear and tear, resulting in tooth and jaw ache. Teeth also become sensitive to hot, cold and/or sweet substances.
Some of the common symptoms of TMJ disorders are:

  • Ear Pain
  • Hearing sounds like grinding and crunching
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Toothaches
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Swelling on the face
To understand TMJ symptoms and treatment, it is advisable that you consult your doctor. Treatments for TMJ disorders include self-care as well as medication or the use of mouth guards. Surgery is usually the last resort. Home remedies for TMJ include:

  • Massage the area around the jaw in a gentle, circular motion. This will help to reduce the ache and discomfort.
  • Use moist heat or cold packs on the sides of the face.
  • Avoid stressful facial movements like yawning, chewing gum or biting on hard food.
  • Stress reducing techniques may help to ease uneasiness and promote rest and relaxation.    
  • Avoid resting your chin on your hand.
  • Try keeping your teeth apart to avoid clenching or grinding of the jaw/teeth.
  • Undergo low-level laser therapy as per your doctor’s advice.
For TMJ pain relief, moist heat therapy helps; however avoid applying a hot compress if your jaw is swollen. Moisten a towel in hot water and apply it to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes three to four times a day. In case of swelling, apply a cold pack to the area for 10 to 15 minutes three to four times a day. After the swelling goes down (it should take about 3 days) start moist heat therapy. Lower jaw exercises such as slowly opening and closing the jaw for 5 minutes three to four times a day, should assist in relieving the pain. If you show TMJ related symptoms, consult a dentist immediately.
       
References
  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001227.htm
  2. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/topics/tmj/lessisbest.htm

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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