If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, you might suffer from one of the most common causes of joint pain, temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. Between 5% and 12% of people around the world suffer from some form of jaw pain. TMD has a wide variety of causes and symptoms. The good news is that it’s also easily treated in almost all cases. Keep reading to learn why your jaw hurts and what you can do about it.
Why Does My Jaw Hurt? Causes of TMD
You have two joints on the sides of your jaw that connect the jawbone to your skull. These are the temporomandibular joints and pain in these joints is associated with TMD.
One of the most common causes of TMD is grinding your teeth. This might happen while you’re sleeping or it might be because of stress, but many people don’t even realize they do it. It puts unnecessary stress on these sensitive joints.
Structural issues in your teeth and jaw can cause TMD. Also, if you wear dentures and they don’t fit correctly, you might experience TMD.
Overuse of the jaw, like opening the mouth too wide or eating foods that are too hard, can lead to TMD. Arthritis is another common cause of the disorder. Poor dental hygiene that leads to infections in the teeth can also inflame these joints.
What’s That Clicking Sound? Symptoms of TMD
Jaw pain might be the most annoying symptom of TMD, but it isn’t the only symptom. Many who suffer from TMD also suffer from migraine or stress-related headaches. They may have issues with sinus headaches and sinus infections that can lead to jaw problems.
Worn teeth are another symptom caused by teeth grinding. Also, if you notice a change in the way your teeth align, it could mean that your jaw has shifted, a symptom of TMD.
A clicking or popping sound when you chew food could mean you have this disorder. And if your jaw feels stiff and causes you difficulty when you eat, it’s time to get looked at for possible TMD. You might even experience a locked jaw, where you have trouble opening your jaw even a little.
I Need Some Relief! Treatment for TMD
The first step is to get yourself an appointment at the dentist’s office. Your dentist will do a full examination and usually take x-rays of the site to see how bad the inflammation around the jaw is. If your dentist determines that there’s an underlying infection, like a tooth infection or a sinus infection, a round of antibiotics might do the trick.
If the alignment of your teeth causing the problem, your dentist may suggest an apparatus that can fix this. Invisalign trays are a great way to discreetly and comfortably align your teeth.
Your dentist might suggest that you stay away from certain foods, like chewing gum and beef jerky, to give the jaw tissues time to heal. If your issue is grinding teeth, your dentist might prescribe a mouthguard for you to wear at night to cushion your teeth and jaw while you sleep.
One natural TMD treatment is to alleviate stress in your life. Stress causes us to clench our jaws which can lead to TMD. Get plenty of exercise, meditate, and take regular vacations to keep stress to a minimum.
Don’t Suffer Any Longer, Talk to Your Dentist
If you find yourself asking “why does my jaw hurt?”, you’re probably suffering from TMD. And it’s time to get treated!
There’s no reason to continue to live with jaw pain. Contact us today to make your appointment with our lead dentist!