Jaw Pain (TMJ Pain)

Cotlew St. Osteopathy – easing teenage jaw pain and bringing smiles back.

The teenage years are a time of dynamic change, growth, and self-discovery. For some teenagers this may come with the unexpected companion of jaw pain.

Jaw discomfort can stem from various causes, impacting daily activities and overall wellbeing. Stress, teeth misalignment, braces, dental issues, muscle tension, TMJ disorders, or habits like teeth grinding are all potential factors influencing their jaw mechanics. Chewing, laughing and even chatting with friends can become challenging with jaw pain and should be addressed as early as possible, to help prevent social anxieties and food aversions.

What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint also known as the jaw joint. It’s a sliding hinge type of joint that connects the jaw bone to the skull and allows you to open and close your mouth. There are many nerves, muscles, ligaments, and bones involved around the TMJ area, and restrictions in any one group of these tissues can cause discomfort or pain to arise in the TMJ.

Some of the symptoms your teenager may experience with TMJ disorders include:

  1. Pain and tenderness in the jaw, face, neck, and shoulders.
  2. Difficulty and pain with chewing.
  3. Clicking, popping or grating sounds when opening and closing the mouth.
  4. Locking of the jaw – making it difficult to fully open and close the mouth.
  5. Headaches or earaches.

The exact cause of TMJ disorders can be challenging to find and sometimes requires collaboration with dentists to exclude infection or teeth pain. Cotlew St. Osteopathy offers comprehensive assessments and examinations to help pinpoint the likely cause and develop a treatment plan to reduce pain in the jaw. Osteopathic treatment is a hands on therapy that will look at addressing the musculoskeletal imbalances of the jaw, head, spine and posture, using such techniques as stretching, articulation, inhibition of muscles or balancing ligaments, to promote better function of the jaw.

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Frequently Asked Questions

While wearing braces itself doesn’t directly cause TMJ disorders, some teenagers may experience temporary discomfort or changes in jaw function while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Lengthy dental work where it requires your mouth to be open very wide for extended periods of time can aggravate jaw symptoms. Often there is a musculoskeletal imbalance underlying the cause and Osteopathic treatment may help to balance these forces, helping reduce pain.

Treatment options vary depending on the cause of the pain and how severe it is. Your teenager could start with some self-help remedies including using a heat pack on the jaw, eating soft foods, avoiding chewing gum, and adopting a better posture. Gentle facial massage and practicing full open jaw exercises may also help. If the pain persists seeking professional help such as with Cotlew St. Osteopathy or with your local dentist may be required. Other treatment options include using pain relief, mouth guards and mouth splints, but should be under the guidance of your healthcare professional.

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Teenage jaw pain can be a source of discomfort affecting various aspects of daily life.

At Cotlew St. Osteopathy we are committed to providing care that will help guide your teenager towards a pain-free and confident smile.

Schedule a consultation today and discover the tailored approach that Cotlew St. Osteopathy can offer your teenager.