Jaw pain can be caused by a lot of different things, but the most common causes are dental related. At the top of those dental-related causes is TMJ Disorder. Jaw pain may be related to the jaw joint itself, the muscles associated with the jaw, pinched nerves in the area, and even pressure on the teeth and bones.
If you are experiencing jaw pain in Corpus Christi, please call (361) 851-8274 or email TMJ dentist Dr. Don Lowrance today for an appointment.
A Complex Joint
We tend to think of the jaw as a very simple open-and-close joint, but the reality is that the jaw can move on all three axis of movement (forward, backward, up, down, left, right). The two TMJ joints at each end of the jaw bone (or mandible) are complex systems of cartilage, nerves, tendons, blood vessels, and muscle. All this complexity means that the balance of the system, which equates to a balanced bite, is very delicate.
TMJ Disorder means that there is an imbalance in this fragile system that can cause intense and persistent jaw pain. How? Think of two people on a trampoline. If one is bouncing up and down, the other person will have to work hard to balance themselves because the trampoline is moving beneath their feet. Your jaw is straining to maintain its position due to imbalances elsewhere in your TMJ system. This strain causes jaw pain. If you’re experiencing jaw pain, you may also suffer from some of these other TMJ symptoms.
Muscle pain is one of the most common causes of jaw pain associated with TMJ. You experience a dull ache in your muscles that grows worse with muscle exertion. When your jaw joint is out of position, the muscles of your jaw have to work harder to do their jobs because they’re working at a disadvantage. This can lead to strain and fatigue. Jaw pain related to this phenomenon is typically worse at the end of the day, when you’ve been working your jaw.
Other people might clench their jaw at night or during the day. You will experience muscle pain after a clenching episode. This is a typical cause of people who wake up with jaw pain or headaches.
When your jaw is out of position, it can put pressure on nerves, either a persistent, dull pressure, or a sharp, pinching pressure. This can lead to jaw pain of either a dull variety or a sharp, electric pain. Pressure on other nerves may lead to tinnitus, dizziness, or visual symptoms.
Our bones can feel pain, too. Pain in the jawbones can be due to too much stress being placed on the jaw. This can push the teeth into the jawbone with excess force, leading to irritation and pain. Also, displacement of the jaw joint can mean that the soft cartilage that’s supposed to protect the bones, gets knocked out of position, resulting in bone grinding pain.
Jaw Pain Help Is Available
To find out if your jaw pain is TMJ-related, you’ll need to come in to Dr. Lowrance’s office for a TMJ analysis. He will analyze your bite with a K7 computer system to identify whether or not your bite is in its optimal position.
If you live in Corpus Christi and are suffering from jaw pain, contact Dr. Lowrance right away. He can set up a jaw pain consultation for you and get you started on a TMJ treatment regimen for a pain-free life.