Family Health

5 Tips to Relieve Sudden Jaw Pain Caused by TMJ Dysfunction

It is not uncommon to hear clicking sounds when you move your jaw, according to my dentist. The problem lies if this clicking sound is associated with other symptoms, such as facial pain, headache, difficulty in chewing and locking of joint wherein you can experience resistance in opening or closing the mouth. When you notice occurrence of the listed symptoms, you should probably see your dentist and have it assessed.

Recently, I experienced sudden jaw pain characterized as a sharp one that lingers for some seconds then goes away. The pain sometimes occur even when I am doing nothing – am not talking, not chewing, but I can still feel it. The following day, it occurred again and it left some dull pain which lasted for hours. I took Tylenol, which afforded relief, though the pain went back again by evening.

Pinterest graphic showing a cropped photo of a face focusing on lower jaw. Texts on top written as "5 tips to relieve sudden jaw pain" and "basic home care for TMJ dysfunction". At the bottom shows the source site "filipina in Canada dot com"

I have it checked with my dentist and he ruled out infection by checking if there are signs and by taking a look at the panoramic x-ray of my lower jaw. I was happy to know that there is no infection happening beyond what a naked eye can see. However, I was instructed to do some basic home care to relieve the pain I am experiencing. And that, my friends, is what I am gonna share to you!

Basic Home Care That Can Improve Sudden Jaw Pain

(1) Massage

The involved structure in this sudden jaw pain condition is the muscles around the affected joint. Doing a massage on that muscle can help them to relax from being tensed. You can do massage in 2 ways: First, you use your 2-3 fingers (let’s say, index, middle and ring fingers) to make a circular motion on the joint area (at the front of the ear) that is affected; Second, you use 1 or 2 fingers to apply deep pressure on a single spot where you can feel the tense muscle. Do one at a time and do both ways as often as possible.

(2) Pain-Free Diet

The key is to let the jaw rest and relax. To avoid chewing that can aggravate the sudden jaw pain, it’s best to eat food that are softer in consistency (porridge is a good example). Also, you want to avoid opening your jaw wide so you must cut your food into smaller pieces (e.g. cutting a hamburger into 4-6 portions, an apple sliced into cubes). If you love chewing raw vegetables, refrain from it for the next 1-2 weeks; eat cooked veggies instead.

(3) Avoid Chewing Gum

Chewing gum gives more pressure on the jaw joints for extended periods of time. So, I will just repeat, AVOID CHEWING GUM – whether it is a bubble gum or gummy bears/worms or else sudden jaw pain will keep on coming back!

(4) Be Aware of the Jaw Position

According to my dentist, the normal rest position of the jaw is when the teeth is slightly separated and the tip of the tongue is touching the roof of the mouth behind your front teeth. This position makes the muscle relaxed, which helps relieve the pain.

(5) Over-the-Counter Medications

You can get Tylenol, Ibuprofen and/or Robaxacet, which is a mild muscle relaxant. All of them can reduce or completely eliminate the pain. Ask your pharmacist on how to take them correctly.

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