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How to Deal with a TMJ Headache

Here at Picasso Smiles, we know no one wants a headache. When addressing any kind of physical pain, it’s important to correctly identify what the source of the pain is and how to most appropriately address it. In the case of pain in your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ pain, many people mistake this pain for a common headache. It’s important to know the difference so that you can know how to most appropriately address your pain in order to get relief as soon as possible. Feel free to contact our Picasso Smiles dentists with any questions via our office in Culver City.

Specific Signs of a TMJ Headache

Your standard headache or migraine may initially bear a few things in common with TMJ pain, but a TMJ headache stems specifically from pain along your jaw that causes additional pain throughout your face, head, and neck. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms that indicate that you are likely experiencing TMJ-related pain instead of a simple headache:

  • Aching ear pain
  • Difficulty chewing or unusual pain while eating
  • Radiating pain from the jaw
  • Jaw joint locking or crackling/grinding when moved
  • Excessive pain or tenderness in the jaw

TMJ headaches are unlikely to cause specific headache and migraine symptoms like nausea or sensitivity to light and sound, but they can occasionally trigger migraines if you are prone to having them. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to address TMJ pain as soon as possible, either by reaching out to your Picasso Smiles Dental team or trying one of the following recommendations.

Handling TMJ Pain

Address the Source

TMJ pain is often misdiagnosed as simply a tension headache. While this may not be entirely accurate, they both can have a common trigger: stress. Address any causes of anxiety by incorporating more therapeutic activities throughout your regular schedule, such as exercise, journaling, meditation, or professional help in the Los Angeles area.

Adjust Your Oral Care Habits

A good oral hygiene is important for a wide range of health benefits, and making a few adjustments can help alleviate TMJ pain. If you’ve been chewing gum on a regular basis, this may be prompting or exacerbating your TMJ pain. Choose mints or a more rigorous mouthwash if bad breath is a concern.

Take A Pain Reliever

Over the counter pain relievers can help bring down inflammation and pain before they become too severe. Be sure to follow all included medication instructions or reach out to your Picasso Smiles dentist if you have any questions or concerns.

Give Yourself a Massage

Beyond taking an over the counter pain reliever, you can physically help reduce pain and inflammation by softly kneading the area around your jaw to increase blood flow. Focus on the TMJ itself, where your jaw connects, and massage gently with a few fingers.

Seek Professional Help

If symptoms have not subsided in some time or in cases where you have extreme difficulty opening and closing your mouth, we’d highly suggest that you contact our Picasso Smiles Dental team in Culver City as soon as possible to prevent more long-term damage.

Reach Out To Picasso Smiles Today!

Picasso Smiles is proud to offer a wide range of dental services and procedures. Contact us at any time and we’ll be happy to get you the help and information. Schedule an appointment with Picasso Smiles today to start improving your dental and overall health! Our team can’t wait to support you and your loved ones on your way to a happier, healthier smile.

What is TMD?

When addressing your dental concerns, many people don’t think about how many different parts of your physical health can be affected by your mouth. It’s critical, however, to know how pain in your teeth and jaw can reach beyond just your mouth, like when a patient is experiencing Temporomandibular Disorder. Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) refers to problems and pain stemming from the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the joint that connects your jaw bone to your skull. Our El Paso team at Picasso Smiles Dental wants to ensure that all of our patients are receiving the proper care, and this includes your ability to recognize and address the signs of TMD. We’ve broken down an overview and some tips below, but please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Common Signs and Symptoms of TMD

Catching and addressing the signs of TMD as soon as possible is critical to reducing your pain and recovery time. Connect with our Picasso Smiles staff if you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

Pain Across Your Face, Especially The Ear Area

While many different types of headaches (tension, sinus, etc.) can lead to pain across the pace, TMD pain starts in the TMJ area which will likely lead to pain specifically in and around your ear.

Face Swelling

Exacerbation of tension in your TMJ area can lead to inflammation in the surrounding area, which may appear as a general swelling appearance in your face.

Locking Or Out Of Place Jaw

If you find that you’re having difficulty opening and closing your jaw because your TMJ is locking (with either an open or closed mouth), then we’d recommend that you reach out to your Picasso Smiles dentist as soon as possible.

Popping Or Clicking With Normal Jaw Movement

Popping or clicking while eating or speaking may be indicative of a problem with your jaw that should be addressed to prevent any aggravation of your TMJ.

Pain And/Or Tenderness In Jaw Muscles

Again, if you are experiencing pain or tenderness specifically in and around your jaw muscles, this is likely related to TMD and you should consult with your Picasso Smiles dental team to prevent this from becoming a chronic issue.Man sitting on a bench touches his jaw, which is hurting him

Alleviating and Avoiding TMD

There are plenty of tips for addressing TMD, but the fact of the matter is that there is no single cure to guarantee the end of your TMJ pain. It’s critical to be aware of and seek professional evaluation for how TMD is affecting your daily routine and any pain in your face to find the most effective way to address your specific symptoms.

Take Measures to Reduce Stress

TMD symptoms are often confused with tension headaches, and this is no surprise. Both have very similar traits and causes, which means they also have similar preventative methods. Incorporating practices that reduce your average levels of stress, such as meditation, yoga, or cognitive behavioral therapy can vastly improve your overall health and TMD-related pain.

Use The Proper Tools

If you are prone to grinding or clenching your teeth, using a night guard (or regular mouthguard during high-impact activity) can work wonders in reducing harmful habits that lead to or exacerbate TMD. That added layer will reduce tension damage in both the short and long term.

Seek Medical Help

In cases where pain will not subside, try using over the counter medicinal options. Make sure that you follow any accompanying instructions as close as possible. If over the counter options are not sufficient, we would encourage you to reach out to a medical professional as soon as possible to address muscle spasms or similar pain. Our El Paso team at Picasso Smiles Dental is always happy to help you and your family alleviate whatever mouth-related pain you’re experiencing.

Schedule a Visit at Picasso Smiles Today!

Whatever your circumstances are, know that the team at Picasso Smiles Dental is here to help you. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your options in addressing TMD or other dental concerns. Our friendly offices in El Paso are welcoming environments that will make your experience as painless as possible. We can’t wait to meet you and your loved ones!

How to Enjoy Halloween While Also Keeping Your Oral Health in Mind

At Picasso Smiles in Culver City, CA, our dentists and oral hygienists know how tough it can be to find tooth-friendly candy for your kids, especially with Halloween right around the corner! Nothing says fall more than spooky pumpkins, scary costumes, and jack-o-lanterns full of delicious candy…but unfortunately, some of the candy your children will get trick-or-treating might not be great their oral health!

Hard candies and sticky sweets contain enormous amounts of sugar that can cake onto and in between your children’s teeth, making it difficult for them to properly floss and brush all of that cavity-causing sugar away! At Picasso Smiles, it’s our mission to ensure that you and your children have a great Halloween this year, so our team has compiled a list of tooth-friendly Halloween candy that we guarantee your kids will enjoy, as well as a few tips on candy consuming best practices.

Trick-Or-Treat: 7 Types Of Tooth-Friendly Halloween Candy

If your kids are chocolate lovers, you are in luck! Soft, milk-chocolate candies with easy-to-eat ingredients are by far the safest of all Halloween treats. Additionally, your children will most likely receive fun-sized portions of these chocolate bars, helping them cut back on their sugar intake and chewing time compared to king-sized candy. Some of our favorite chocolatey, yet tooth-friendly sweet treats include:

  • Kit Kats
  • 3 Musketeers
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • York Peppermint Patties
  • Junior Mints
  • Hershey Bars
  • Hershey Kisses

Sweet Halloween Treats Your Children Should Avoid

Sneaky Halloween treats, such as chewy, gooey, and hard candies can get stuck in your children’s teeth or braces. These candies will put your children’s teeth at risk for harmful plaque and cavity-causing bacteria, so you’ll want to make sure they avoid these scary treats as much as possible:

  • Bubble gum
  • Candy Corn
  • Caramel apples, or any other caramel candies
  • Gummy Bears, or any other chewy candies
  • Jawbreakers, or any other hard candies
  • Jelly Beans
  • Licorice

When Your Children Should Enjoy Their Halloween Candy

Regardless of how badly your children want to munch on their candy all day, it’s best for them to enjoy their sweet treats right before eating a healthy snack. About 90% of all foods that contain sugars or starches enable bacteria in dental plaque to produce acids. This bacterial acid can sit on the teeth and gums for 20 minutes or longer! By allowing your child a healthy snack after they indulge in their candies, it will help to wash out or brush off the unwanted sugars and bacterial acids in between and around the teeth.

Contact Your Culver City, CA Dentists At Picasso Smiles!

By following these simple tips and tricks, your children will be able to enjoy halloween to max while keeping their teeth and gums as healthy as possible. For more information on tooth-friendly halloween treats, feel free to contact us today! On behalf of our entire staff at Picasso Smiles in Culver City, CA, we hope you and your children have a delightful halloween this year!