Because of the different kinds of jaw pain TMJ can cause, it is sometimes difficult to track down.
Jaw Joint Pain
One of the most common jaw pains related to TMJ is pain in the actual jaw joint. In the temporomandibular joint is a disc of cartilage that is supposed to cushion the two bones. In TMJ, this disc can get displaced so that it no longer performs as a cushion. Jaw popping and clicking are also common when this occurs, but the absence of sound doesn’t mean you don’t have a displaced disc.
Instead, the bones press together, separated only by a thin membrane of connective tissue that isn’t up to the task. This can cause pain because of the pressure on this vulnerable tissue, or pain because of the grinding of bones that occurs, or pain because of the inflammation that results.
Jaw Pain in the Teeth and Bones
When TMJ leads to imbalanced forces in the jaw, it can cause excessive force to bear down unevenly on teeth. This can compress your teeth, leading to toothaches not related to decay.
The force can also bear down excessively on nerves in the jaw bone, leading to pain actually in the jaw bone, or even in the sinuses.
Jaw Pain in the Muscles
TMJ puts excessive demands on your jaw muscles. Your muscles are constantly being forced to work harder than they should, which can cause them to become sore. A dull muscle ache will result on one or both sides of the jaw. It’s not uncommon for this jaw pain to be associated with headaches or pain in the neck.
Pinched Nerves and Jaw Pain
Nerves that run by the temporomandibular joint are vulnerable to damage when the jaw joint loses its alignment and impinges on spaces normally reserved for other tissues. The result of this may be pinched nerves, which can cause a wide range of pains, from dull aches to sharp, electric pains.
These pains might even be something other than pain. It can be numbness or other sensations. For example, pinched nerves from leading from the ear might lead to ringing in the ear (tinnitus).
No matter what type of jaw pain you’re experiencing, the odds are good that TMJ is responsible. If you are ready to say goodbye to jaw pain, please call (914) 526-2144 or contact Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake, helping people with jaw pain in Westchester County.