A bag of frozen peas against your face can offer welcome relief if you are experiencing jaw pain. However, it is only a short-term solution. Rather than heading to the freezer every time your jaw aches, we would like to help you solve this problem permanently. Read on to learn the common causes of jaw pain and what you can do about it.
What Are the Different Causes of Jaw Pain?
Unfortunately, jaw pain can be caused by a number of different issues—the more serious ones include jaw cancer, a heart attack, tetanus, or even a broken jaw. However, these causes are relatively uncommon. More often than not, people with jaw pain suffer from TMD.
TMD is what we refer to as temporomandibular disorders, which basically translates to problems with your jaw and the muscles that control it. Sometimes you may hear it called TMJ, but technically, TMJ is the joint and TMD is the disorder.
What Causes TMD?
There are 3 primary causes of TMD:
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) – This chronic pain disorder is characterized by sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers, typically centered in the jaw muscles. MPS is more likely to occur in people who suffer from arthritis or who have poor posture, but many times, the cause is unknown.
- Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) – Numerous people grind their teeth in their sleep, causing jaw pain throughout the day. While experts do not fully understand all of the causes of bruxism, it has been linked to anxiety, stress, alcohol consumption, smoking, caffeine, sleep apnea, snoring, and fatigue.
- Malocclusion or Improper Bite – An improper bite can lead to a dull pain, particularly when speaking or chewing. Improper bites are often caused by trauma, hereditary, impacted wisdom teeth, or missing teeth.
What Should I Do If I Am Experiencing Jaw Pain
In a true life-threatening emergency, you will want to go to the ER immediately—say, if you suspect that you broke your jaw. However, if your pain is more of a chronic ache, we recommend that you visit us for an evaluation. Since most cases of jaw pain are related to TMD, we can evaluate your teeth and bite to determine if there is a dental problem that is responsible for your condition.
How Can You Help with TMD?
We have a number of options at our disposal for treating TMD, depending on its cause. If your jaw pain is related to an improper bite, teeth extraction can sometimes correct the problem. Alternatively, we can build a bridge or crown to prevent teeth from shifting.
We can also alleviate teeth grinding by creating a custom-made bite guard just for you. Vastly superior to drugstore brands, a custom-fit bite guard will allow you to get a comfortable night’s sleep with its exceptional fit. No more jaw pain while you are enjoying that first cup of coffee in the morning!
How Can I Schedule a TMD Consultation?
Visiting us is easy! We are conveniently located in the heart of Methuen, and our office offers evening and weekend appointments for your convenience. To schedule your TMD consultation, contact us at 978.688.4441 or click here to use our online appointment scheduler.