Simple Solutions: Ease Jaw Clenching and Pain with a Mouthguard


Are you experiencing Jaw Clenching and Pain

Have you ever woken up with a sore jaw? If you have, you know how uncomfortable any kind of jaw pain can be – leading to headaches, tenderness of the jaw, pain when chewing, and even pain around the ear. Although there are multiple things that can cause jaw or facial pain, Dr. Anderson and his team can conduct a thorough exam to determine if you may be experiencing TMJ and help you ease jaw clenching and pain associated with TMJ.

Learn more about Jaw Pain

What is TMJ

According to Healthline, TMJ is affecting over 10 million Americans. “TMD is also sometimes known as TMJ. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your mandible (lower jaw) to your skull. The joint can be found on both sides of your head in front of your ears. It allows your jaw to open and close, letting you to speak and eat.”

The causes of TMJ are often:

  • Grinding and/or clenching of the teeth – putting excessive pressure on the joint
  • Arthritis in the joint
  • Stress – causing your muscles to tighten and clench
  • Movement of the disc between the ball and the socket of the joint (a displaced disc)
  • Injury to the jaw joint

Other factors can also cause jaw pain, but may not be TMJ:

  • Cluster headaches
  • Sinus issues
  • Tooth pain
  • Heart attack

Read more from Healthline

If you are not experiencing pain or limited movement with your jaw clicking, you probably don’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder. However, if left untreated, the TMJ symptoms increase in number and severity as you get older.

Treatment Options for TMJ and Jaw Pain

According to Dr. Anderson and his team, there are several TMD treatment options to ease jaw clenching and pain for those who have TMD. Quite often, a conservative less-is-more approach is the most effective. For TMD, this could include eating softer foods, avoiding repetitive function, such as gum chewing, biting nails, ice-chip chewing, taking over-the-counter pain medications (anti-inflammatories, analgesics, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety drug) and modifying pain by applying heat packs and ice packs to the area that is feeling discomfort.

Practicing relaxation techniques to minimize jaw tension such as meditation or biofeedback. Also gentle massages on the jaw and the muscles in the neck can also prove to be helpful. The experts at Dr. Anderson’s offices may recommend exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles, Alter your diet to exclude excessively chewy foods. This includes chewing the sugar-free gum that you love so much. All of this excess chewing could put further strain on the TMJ.

If these easy at-home solutions are not quite as effective as you’d have hoped, Dr. Anderson and his expert team can offer a dental appliance to help provide support for the TMJ. Most often a night guard will also keep your from clenching and grinding your teeth in your sleep.

Prevent Damage While You’re Sleeping with a Mouth Guard

Only proper tooth shape and positioning can prevent occlusal trauma during everyday activity (eating, grinding, clenching, etc.). Mouth guards also referred to as bite guards are an important tool to ease jaw clenching and pain; therefore, preventing these problems when they are the most damaging – while you are sleeping.

A bite guard acts as a mouth guard for grinding teeth and are the first, least invasive step in treating TMJ disorders and headaches that come from jaw stresses. Jaw clenching and night-time grinding are becoming a big problem for many stressed out adults.

Signs & Symptoms Include:

  • flattening of the front teeth
  • craters on the tops of teeth
  • notches in the sides of teeth
  • tired jaw muscles
  • headaches

Custom-fit mouth guards can be be a big lifesaver for patients who have suffered from clenching and grinding. Many patients who use a mouth guard tell us they don’t know how they ever lived without it.

Additional Treatment Options

To ease jaw clenching and pain with TMJ treatment, your first step is scheduling a consultation with Dr. Anderson and his team. Oftentimes, by adjusting your bite (the way your teeth come together), many times we can properly align the teeth, muscles and jaws to be in the most comfortable positions. This alignment correction will often reduce or eliminate your TMJ symptoms.

In addition to a mouthguard or bite guard, other medical treatment options may include:

  • Botox injections
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Jaw surgery

We Offer TMJ Treatment

We feel that TMJ awareness and diagnosis are important steps before treatment. Consult with us for TMJ disorders and Bruxism in the Kansas City area, to determine what type of jaw condition is causing you to suffer. Part of the dental examination includes checking the muscles and joints for clicking, popping, tenderness or difficulty moving.

It’s also important to stay up to date on your cleanings and routine visits to your dentist. In the meantime, having a strong and steady oral health routine – brushing twice a day and flossing once – is the best thing you can do for your oral health!

Do You Have Questions About Protecting Your Smile?

We can provide a thorough exam to assess the health of your smile. At Thomas L. Anderson and Associates, we can help you ease jaw clenching and pain, protect your teeth, and ensure you maintain a lifetime of healthy smiles. We proudly offer our services to the Kansas City Metro and surrounding areas. Contact us today at one of our three convenient locations to schedule your dental appointment for TMJ treatment or to learn more about our other services.

Contact us today to schedule your dental appointment and meet with our skilled dentists at one of our three conveniently located dental office locations within the Kansas City area, including Lee’s Summit / Independence, the Country Club Plaza and Downtown Kansas City. The gentle dentists and expert team at Thomas L. Anderson and Associates look forward to working with you to treat your dental emergency, achieve proper oral health and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. If you have any questions about your dental insurance benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are happy to review your policy! Please give us a call today to schedule an appointment and become part of our dental family.