Minnesotaorthodontist's Blog


Twin Cities Orthodontist Discusses Tips on Dealing with Jaw Pain

Coon Rapids Orthodontist Discusses TMJ Pain and Dysfunction

Many people, either with or without braces, may experience some degree of pain or clicking in their temporomandibular joints (also known as jaw joints, or TMJs).  Often, painful symptoms can be exacerbated by clenching or grinding, or overuse of the jaw joints (such as excessive gum chewing), or by traumatic injury.

Many mild cases of tempormandibular dysfunction (TMD) can be helped with home care instructions.  Below is a list of things a person could do that may relieve jaw pain.  Please note, this information is not a substitute for a comprehensive exam or treatment by a healthcare professional:

  1. Stay on a pain-free diet.  This means that you may eat whatever you normally would eat, but stay away from foods that cause jaw pain.
  2. Take Ibuprofen if needed to relieve pain and inflammation.  You may take a normal headache dose, or up to 600mg (3 tablets) every six hours if needed.
  3. Apply a moist heat or cold compress to the painful areas of your jaw, whichever feels better.
  4. Limit painful movement (ie: yawning with a wide open mouth).
  5. Avoid gum and caffeine.
  6. Avoid nail biting, chewing on pens, or any other activity that causes unnecessary jaw movements.
  7. Avoid resting your chin in your hands or sleeping on your stomach, or any other activity that causes unnecessary strain on your jaw.
  8. Practice the “Tongue up, teeth apart” rest position (similar to saying the letter “N”).
  9. Monitor symptoms for improvement or worsening.

If symptoms persist or worsen, please contact your orthodontist or another dental professional.  In acute or chronic cases of TMD, a referral to a TMJ specialist may be indicated.  In the event of traumatic injury to the jaw, contact a medical professional to be certain that more serious injuries are not present.

Thank you to Dr. Patricia Fernandes for her help with this blog.

For More Information

Please call (763) 784-0420 or visit www.ZapfelOrthodontics.com for more information or to schedule a complimentary initial examination and x-ray.  Zapfel Orthodontics is located at 1130 NE County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park, MN 55432 and serves the Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin Cities including Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley, Roseville, Anoka, Brooklyn Park, Columbia Heights, and Mounds View, Minnesota.


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