Apply moist heat or ice packs. Place ice in a plastic bag, wrap it in a thin cloth, and apply it to your face for 10 minutes. Then take it off for 10 minutes before reapplying it. Another option is to run warm water over a washcloth, then apply it to your jaw area. The moist heat can relax overactive jaw muscles and relieve pain. You may have to re-wet the washcloth several times to maintain the heat.
You can also purchase heat or ice packs at a pharmacy or online. However, they should be covered in cloth at all times, or they could burn your skin. If it feels too hot or too cold, remove it.
Over-the-counter pain relievers. Medicines like ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help to reduce discomfort.
Massage. Using your index and middle finger, press the sore areas of your jaw, such as the area right before your ear where your jaw joints meet. Rub in a circular motion for 5 to 10 rotations, then open your mouth and repeat the exercise. Massaging the muscles on the side of your neck may also help relieve tension.
Stress reduction. Try stress-relieving techniques to reduce jaw clenching. These could include yoga, journaling and meditation.
Avoid chewy foods. Foods that are chewy, tough, or crunchy can place too great a strain on your jaw joint and lead to pain and discomfort later. Foods to avoid include apples, beef jerky, chewing gum and ice.
Avoid caffeine. You may believe that your morning cup of coffee is necessary, but it could also be contributing to your muscle tension, due to the caffeine. Avoiding large amounts of caffeinated coffee and tea may help reduce your jaw pain over time, but the withdrawal may enhance it.
For more information about jaw pain relief, call Dr. Schneider in Mooresville, NC at 704-660-1802 or visit www.schneidersmiles.com.
Drs. Catherine and Kenneth Schneider proudly serve patients from Mooresville and all surrounding areas.