4200 Columbia Rd, Martinez, GA 30907



Posts for tag: jaw pain

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
December 14, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain  

If you're suffering from jaw pain or impaired function, it may not be the only source of chronic pain in your body. Of the millions of adults with temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), many have also been diagnosed — among other conditions — with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis or sleep problems.

TMD is actually a group of painful disorders that affect the jaw joints, muscles and surrounding tissues. Besides pain, other symptoms include popping, clicking or grating sounds during jaw movement and a restricted range of motion for the lower jaw. Although we can't yet pinpoint a definite cause, TMD is closely associated with stress, grinding and clenching habits or injury.

It's not yet clear about the possible connections between TMD and other systemic conditions. But roughly two-thirds of those diagnosed with TMD also report three or more related health conditions. Debilitating pain and joint impairment seem to be the common thread among them all. The similarities warrant further research in hopes of new treatment options for each of them.

As for TMD, current treatment options break down into two basic categories: a traditional, conservative approach and a more interventional one. Of the first category, at least 90% of individuals find relief from treatments like thermal therapy (like alternating hot and cold compresses to the jaw), physical therapy, medication or mouth guards to reduce teeth clenching.

The alternative approach, surgery, seeks to correct problems with the jaw joints and supporting muscles. The results, however, have been mixed: in one recent survey a little more than a third of TMD patients who underwent surgery saw any improvement; what's more alarming, just under half believed their condition worsened after surgery.

With that in mind, most dentists recommend the first approach initially for TMD. Only if those therapies don't provide satisfactory relief or the case is extreme, would we then consider surgery. It's also advisable for you to seek a second opinion if you're presented with a surgical option.

Hopefully, further research into the connections between TMD and other inflammatory diseases may yield future therapies. The results could help you enjoy a more pain-free life as well as a healthy mouth.

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
March 23, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain  

A steady ache, a clicking, popping noise when you open and close your mouth--what do these symptoms mean? What can be done about them?

Dr. John D. Massey, a family and cosmetic dentist at Augusta Smile Care, takes jaw pain seriously. Sometimes a sign of tooth decay or Jaw Pain abscess, pain can also be a symptom of a disorder of the hinge-like jaw joint.

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, nicknamed TMJ, mostly affects women between the ages of 20 and 40, but men and other age groups can suffer from it, too, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. In fact, approximately 10 million people struggle with some degree of TMJ across the United States.

The Symptoms and Origins of TMJ

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction presents in different and sometimes quirky ways. Centered in the hinge-like jaw joint at either, or both, sides of the face, the most common symptoms are:

  • a clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • headaches
  • ear or neck pain
  • inability to open or close the mouth
  • bite changes
  • sore facial muscles

The most frequent causes of TMJ are arthritis, injury to the jaw from a blow to the face, poorly aligned dental bite and bruxism, or tooth clenching or grinding, especially at night.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Dr. Massey will perform a complete oral exam to determine what is happening with a symptomatic jaw joint. He will also discuss the patient's medical and prescription history and take x-rays to visualize the dental and bone structure. He pays particular attention to how the joints open and close and how the teeth bite together.

Simple at-home treatments of TMJ include:

  • eating softer foods
  • icing the jaw
  • physical therapy (special exercises designed to increase fluid motion of the jaw)
  • use of muscle relaxants and analgesics

Additionally, Dr. Massey often treats Augusta TMJ with a custom-made bite guard. Made of comfortable acrylic and typically worn at night, a bite guard alleviates teeth grinding and promotes proper bite. It's a simple and very effective solution to a difficult and often neglected oral health problem.

Are You Having Jaw Pain?

Dr. John D. Massey of Augusta Smile Care takes special interest in people with TMJ. If you are struggling with a sore, noisy jaw that is not working properly, contact Dr. Massey's office for a consultation appointment. Don't suffer, but get to the source of your discomfort. Call (706) 868-1322 today.

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
May 31, 2013
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain  

If you were recently in an accident or received a hard hit while playing sports and you have been feeling jaw pain ever since, you may be suffering from a serious injury. It is important that you make an appointment with us immediately, so that we can conduct a proper examination, make a diagnosis and prescribe a suitable treatment. Even if the pain is lessening, you should still make an appointment.

Without seeing you, we have no way of definitively diagnosing the cause of your pain. However, here are a few possibilities:

  1. You displaced a tooth or teeth.
  2. You indirectly traumatized or injured the jaw joint (TMJ — temporomandibular joint). This trauma will cause swelling in the joint space, and the ball of the jaw joint will not fully seat into the joint space. If this is the issue, it is likely that your back teeth on the affected side will not be able to touch. Over time, the swelling should subside, allowing the teeth to fit together normally.
  3. You may have a minor fracture of your lower jaw. The most common is a “sub-condylar” fracture (just below the head of the joint), which will persist in symptoms that are more severe than simply bruising and swelling.
  4. You may have dislocated the joint, which means the condyle or joint head has been moved out of the joint space.

All of the above injuries can also cause muscle spasms, meaning that the inflammation from the injury results in the muscles on both sides of the jaw locking it in position to stop further movement and damage.

The most critical step is for you to make an appointment with our office, so we can conduct a physical examination, using x-rays to reveal the extent of your injury. We'll also be able to see whether the injury is to the soft tissue or bone.

Treatment may involve a variety of things, including anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant medications. If your teeth have been damaged, we'll recommend a way to fix this issue. If you have dislocated your jaw, we may be able to place it back through gentle manipulation. If you have fractured your jaw, we'll need to reposition the broken parts and splint them to keep them still, so that they can heal.

If you would like more information about jaw pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Jaw Pain.”

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