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Jaw Joint Pain

Jaw joint pain is a common condition which can be temporary and mild or severe. One of the most common cause of the jaw pain is TMJ (the temporomandibular joints). Those are the 2 joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. More specifically, they are the joints that slide and rotate in front of each ear, and consist of the mandible (the lower jaw) and the temporal bone (the side and base of the skull).

When the pain is extreme, it can interfere with your quality of life and cause discomfort when you eat or speak.

Possible causes of jaw pain

  • Clenching or grinding your teeth (bruxism). Stress or dental problems can cause you to grind your teeth. It may even run in your family. You may grind your teeth during the day or while you sleep, so you may not even know you’re doing it.
  • Over chewing. Chewing gum or anything that you chew constantly over time can cause tightness in your jaw muscles.
  • Stress. When you’re anxious or stressed, you may clench your jaws or grind your teeth, either while you’re sleeping or during the day.
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD). This disorder causes pain in your jaws and the surrounding muscles. If you have this condition, you jaws may throb or ache or you may have tenderness in or around your ear, jaw, or face. The pain may get worse when you’re chewing food. You may also hear a clicking sound or feel a grinding sensation when you move your jaw.
  • Osteoarthritis. This is a common joint disease, also known as “wear and tear” arthritis. It’s usually much less severe than rheumatoid arthritis of the jaw point. Symptoms include a grinding sound, known as crepitus, when you move your jaw.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. This autoimmune disorder affects the whole body. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 70% of people with rheumatoid arthritis have or will have some symptoms of TMJ. Rheumatoid arthritis causes bone loss and damage to jaw joints and surrounding tissue.
  • Tetanus. Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a bacterial infection that can be fatal. The tetanus vaccine protects you against this infection. Symptoms of tetanus include difficulty swallowing, muscle pain in the neck and jaw, and stiffness in the stomach.

The cause of jaw pain can be hard to pinpoint, but here at Ari Prosthodontics we can help.

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