Dealing with jaw pain can have a huge impact on your quality of life. It can make eating, speaking, yawning, and smiling feel painful. Unless you eat a liquid diet and don’t want to show any signs of emotion throughout the day, jaw pain can make your day-to-day life difficult and stressful.

Fortunately, at Smile Columbia Dentistry, we’ve come up with several ways to reduce your jaw pain and one that can eliminate it for good.

young woman suffering from jaw pain

1. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

One of the easiest ways to relieve your jaw pain is by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Although they will only bring temporary relief, the pain relievers will reduce your pain and inflammation in your jaw. If the pain is severe, over-the-counter pain relievers might not help make a huge difference. You should only use over-the-counter pain relievers as a temporary solution and seek to find an actual treatment in the near future.

2. Massage Your Jaw

Another way to reduce your jaw pain is by giving yourself a jaw massage. Take your index finger and middle finger and use them to press into the sorest areas of your jaw. This area might be the area where your ear and jaw meet. Rub your fingers in a circular motion for about ten rotations. Then open your mouth and repeat the massage. Additionally, massaging the muscles on the side of your head, neck, or shoulders might also bring you relief. Massages are another temporary solution to experiencing jaw pain relief.

3. Reduce Stress

One of the reasons you might have jaw pain is because you’re clenching your teeth because you’re stressed. Most people don’t even realize they don’t have a relaxed jaw throughout the day. If you’re feeling stressed out, start by actively unclenching your jaw throughout the day. Then, find ways to relieve your stress. We recommend going for a walk, meditating, practicing yoga, journaling, or any other stress-reducing activity you enjoy. The ultimate goal is to not let stress build-up to the point where it’s causing you to clench your teeth all day long. Reducing your stress will reduce your need to clench your teeth and therefore provide you with less pain.

4. Apply Ice or Heat

Another way to reduce jaw pain is by applying ice or heat. One option might work better than the other or a combination of both could bring you relief. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a cloth to your jaw where it hurts and hold it for 10 minutes. Massage the area and then reapply the ice pack if needed. You can also apply a heating pad to your face or a washcloth rinsed in hot water. The moist heat can help relax your overactive jaw muscles and provide you with pain relief.

5. Skip Caffeine

You probably need your morning cup of coffee to get through your day but your morning cup of joe might be contributing to your jaw pain. The caffeine stimulates your nervous system and can contribute to increased anxiety which can cause you to clench your jaw. Reducing your caffeine intake or stopping consumption altogether can help reduce muscle tension and overall jaw pain.

6. Avoid Chewy or Hard Food

If you love chewy food, it might also contribute to your jaw pain. Think of your jaw muscles like your leg muscles. If you try to run a marathon every day without taking some days off to simply just walk, your legs will probably always feel sore. The same is true for your jaw muscles. If you continue to push them past their limits by chomping on chewy food, you will continue to strain them and the pain will continue. Start reducing your intake of chewy or hard food like gum, candy, kettle chips, pretzels, and more.

7. Get TMJ Treatment in Columbia, SC

The last and most effective way to reduce your jaw pain is by getting TMJ treatment in Columbia, SC. Frequent jaw pain is one of the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder. TMJ disorder is a condition caused by an imbalance in your jaw joints. A number of reasons can cause the imbalance but our ultimate goal is to resolve this balance to provide you with optimal relief.

First, at Smile Columbia Dentistry we will accurately diagnose you with TMJ utilizing our advanced technology. Then, using TENS technology, we will loosen up your stiff jaw muscles to find your optimal jaw resting position. Based on this information, we will create a customized treatment plan that may involve wearing an oral splint, orthodontics, or restorative and cosmetic dentistry like porcelain veneers or dental crowns.

With our TMJ treatment in Columbia, SC, we can provide you with long-term jaw pain relief. To find out if you have TMJ and to explore your treatment options, please contact us at (803) 781-9090 to book an appointment.