Jaw pain can be caused by several conditions. Commonly, however, it may be due to TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder).
The temporomandibular (TM) joint is the jaw joint. TMD refers to a variety of conditions that affect TM joints, jaw muscles and facial nerves.
Typically, jaw pain is accompanied with a dull ache which can be felt near the ears, in the facial muscles that control chewing, or in the neck. Jaw pain can be experienced while chewing, biting, and yawning. Soreness in the jaw after waking up is quite common.
There are several factors that contribute to TMD:
- Trauma or injury to the area
- Stress and subconscious clenching or grinding
- Misalignment of the teeth or bite
- Poor posture
- Poor sleep
In most cases, a description of symptoms and a simple physical examination of the face and jaw by a dentist provides useful information for diagnosing these disorders.
Dentists may recommend a combination of treatments based on personal needs
- A home program may be provided with certain exercises based on assessment findings
- Relevant education and advice on how to manage the condition in the long term
- Practicing relaxation techniques
- Modifying the pain with short term use of anti-inflammatory medications, ice and heat packs
- Wearing a dental night guard to help protect teeth relax jaw muscles.
Ways to ease jaw pain at home:
- Eat softer, less chewy foods
- Limit jaw opening such as yawning
- Maintain good posture
- Reduce stress
- Maintain good sleeping habits
Visit the dentist for correct diagnosis and further advice.
If you think a crack could be affecting your bite or causing you pain, call our Patient Coordinator on (03) 9460 7070 and have a quick chat to work out the difference.