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Posts for tag: TMJ

By Augusta Smilecare
September 19, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain   TMJ  

Does jaw pain keep you up at night or make eating an unpleasant experience? Our Augusta, GA, dentist, Dr. John Massey, provides jaw paininformation on common causes of jaw pain, including TMJ, and discusses ways to ease your pain.

Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw while you sleep

Grinding and clenching stresses your jaw muscles and joints, causing pain and stiffness that may be worse in the morning. Although it's not always possible to determine the cause of grinding and clenching, stress, bite problems, drinking too much alcohol or sleep apnea may play a role.

An infection in your jaw or a tooth

Pain from an abscessed tooth can radiate to your jaw. Other signs of an abscess can include fever and swollen lymph nodes and gums. Osteomyelitis, an infection that affects your jawbone, can also be a source of jaw pain. Both infections require an emergency visit to our Augusta office to prevent the bacteria from spreading throughout your body.

Bite problems

You may have a bite problem if the teeth in your upper and lower jaws don't fit together properly when you close your mouth. It's possible to suffer from the issue even if your teeth aren't crooked.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

TMJ symptoms affect your jaw joints, muscles and ligaments. In addition to jaw pain, you may notice stiffness, difficulty opening or closing your mouth, clicking sounds or temporary locking of the jaw joint. TMJ doesn't just affect your jaw, but can also cause headaches, ear pain, and stiffness in the muscles of your neck and upper back. TMJ may be more likely to occur if you have a bite problem or grind or clench your teeth. Injuries and arthritis may also increase your risk of TMJ.

How is jaw pain treated?

Ice packs and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can be helpful no matter what the cause of your pain. If you're a grinder or a clencher, you can reduce stress on your jaw by wearing a nightguard at night. Nightguards are custom-made to fit your mouth and are worn over your bottom teeth.

Antibiotics are prescribled to treat bacterial infections of the teeth or jaw. Prescription pain medications may also be helpful if you have an infection or suffer from severe TMJ pain. If jaw pain is caused by a bite problem, orthodontic treatment to improve the alignment of your teeth may be recommended. TMJ symptoms can often be relieved by wearing an oral splint that repositions your jaw at night, reducing pain.

A visit to the dentist can put an end to your jaw pain. Call our Augusta, GA, dentist, Dr. Massey, at (706) 868-1322 to schedule your appointment.

By Augusta Smilecare
November 11, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain   TMJ   tmd  

As many as 36 million adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of chronic jaw pain. What’s more, many of these may also experience other painful conditions like arthritis or chronic fatigue in other parts of their body.

Chronic jaw pain is actually a group of difficult to define disorders collectively referred to as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD or also TMD). TMD not only refers to pain symptoms of the temporomandibular (jaw) joints but also of the jaw muscles and surrounding connective tissue. Most physicians and dentists agree TMD arises from a complex range of conditions involving inheritable factors, gender (many sufferers are women of childbearing age), environment and behavior.

A recent survey of approximately 1,500 TMD patients found that nearly two-thirds of them also suffered from three or more related health problems like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, depression and problems sleeping. The understanding of TMD’s connection with these other conditions is in its early stages of research, but there’s avid interest among healthcare providers to learn more and possibly devise new treatments for TMD in coordination with these other related conditions.

In the meantime, TMD patients continue to respond best with the traditional approach to treatment, including physical therapy, thermal (hot or cold) compresses to the area of pain, medication and modifying the diet with more easier to chew foods. In extreme cases, jaw surgery may be recommended; however, success with this approach has been mixed, so it’s advisable to get a second opinion before choosing to undergo a surgical procedure.

Hopefully, further study about TMD and its connection with other conditions may yield newer treatments to ease the pain and discomfort of all these conditions, including TMD. You can stay up to date on these and other developments for coping with the discomfort of TMD at www.tmj.org and through your healthcare provider team.

If you would like more information on TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”

By Augusta SmileCare
July 09, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: TMJ  

How do you deal with TMJ pain? Your Augusta family dentist has some suggestions. 

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, usually abbreviated to TMJ, is a common pain disorder, affecting between 10 and 35 million TMJAmericans. If your Augusta, Georgia family dentist has diagnosed you with TMJ, here are some tips for managing your condition from Dr. John D. Massey of Augusta SmileCare.

Heat and ice application

Moist heat from a hot water bottle or damp washcloth can help to alleviate pain and restore some function to the jaw joint. You can also apply ice packs for 10 to 15 minutes at a time for pain and inflammation relief. Your August family dentist Dr. Massey cautions his patients not to overheat the water and never place ice directly on the skin - it should be wrapped in a clean cloth or towel first.

Steer clear of sticky foods

To keep your jaw from working overtime, resist the urge to eat chewy foods like gum or taffy or hard, crunchy items like candy and ice cubes. Your Augusta dentist also cautions against trying to accommodate foods like corn on the cob or applies by opening your mouth too widely. It may be necessary to maintain a soft diet for a few days if you're having a particularly painful flareup of TMJ.


For optimal dental health, people should try to avoid clenching their jaws together. This is especially important for TMJ patients. Dr. Massey suggests practicing at relaxing your facial muscles relaxed and keeping your upper and lower teeth apart until it becomes a habit. Relaxation methods like deep breathing or meditation can help enhance your efforts. Many TMJ patients have found benefits in yoga or massage therapy as well.

Exercise your jaw

Your Augusta dentist Dr. Massey may refer you to a nearby physical therapist in order to learn some jaw exercises you can do at home. When done consistently and correctly, these exercises have shown to help increase jaw mobility and decrease pain.

If you've been plagued by TMJ symptoms - jaw pain, limited movement, or headaches - contact Augusta SmileCare to have an evaluation as soon as possible.

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John D. Massey, DMD
4200 Columbia Road
Martinez, GA 30907