What are the Causes of Jaw Pain?

What are the Causes of Jaw Pain?

The jaw joints are one of the most complex in the human body. These joints are on the right and left side of the face and connect the lower jaw to the skull. They're used each time we talk, chew and swallow. The joint has two parts that permit the hinge and gliding motions required to open the mouth. If the jaw joints themselves are out of place the individual may experience muscle spasms, locking of the jaw, limited opening of the mouth, popping or clicking of the jaw joint, and pain. The nerve and muscle complex in this area is extremely complex.

Temperomandibular joint disorder, more commonly known as TMD or TMJD, refers to a range of conditions that cause jaw pain. The features of TMJD are pain in and around the jaw joints, normally one sided but can be both, and maybe pain in the neck, face and shoulder. It is intermittent, though regularly worse in the morning, occasionally accompanied by earache, headache, or a migraine. It could be worse after eating or stretching the jaw open. And it's normally not relieved by most analgesics.

The TMJD may present itself as clicking or crepitus of the jaw joints, or difficulty in opening or closing the mouth. The muscles may be tender, and the area around the joint may feel tender to touch and pressure. There can also be tinnitus or giddiness.

Some TMJD cases might be due to a incorrect bite, in these cases corrections to the teeth and bite can be achieved through orthodontics or restorations. A dentist may then fit an oral device, often referred to as a splint. This is a plastic device that fits over the teeth and appears like a sports mouth guard. The point of the splint is to reduce grinding and clenching that frequently happens at night whilst the patient is asleep.