Why does my jaw hurt?

At some point, we experience stiffness in our jaw. In America, it is reported that there are 10 million Americans who are suffering from jaw stiffness and jaw problems. Good thing is that jaw pain and discomfort can go away without taking some medicines.

However, jaw pain can also be a symptom of a serious medical condition. And one of the conditions that may cause jaw pain and discomfort is TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders). It is defined as a group of conditions that cause pain in the jaw joints and muscles controlling movement.

One of the reasons of jaw pain will be stressed joints. However, for most jaw problems, the real cause is yet to be discovered. As regards to your jaw making clicking sounds, this condition may not lead to a serious condition. But it is considered as a common issue in the general population.

Tooth grinding and TMD connection is also unclear. Some patients with TMD do not grind their teeth. On the other hand, long-time tooth grinders do not experience jaw pain or stressed joints.

Treatments available

The treatment for jaw pain and discomfort will depend on the cause. Your dentist may suggest a dental surgery, whenever necessary.

Jaw Pain Possible Causes

  1. Myofascial pain is a common type of TMJ dysfunction. Your dentist may recommend a treatment for myofascial pain but the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends being extra cautious of applying treatment for this condition.

    Instead, the organization recommends eating soft foods. It is also advisable not to engage in extreme jaw movements, like gum chewing and loud singing.

    Massaging of your face may also help.

  2. Slipping of your jaw joint is another reason of experiencing jaw pain. In this condition, the articular disc between the ball and the socket of your jaws slips out of place. If it is out of place, the bones can't properly support the disc but they will continue to function, which may create pain that may tend to worsen with time.

    The typical treatment for this condition is eating soft foods, using of bite guard and taking of muscle relaxants. Some patients may also try the benefits of hyaluronic acid. But before you start taking it, make sure that you have consulted this matter to your dentist.

  3. Arthritis may also cause jaw pain and discomfort. Swelling of joints in the jaw area could create the feeling of pain and stiffness. In order to diagnose this condition, an MRI may be requested.

  4. The rheumatic disease may also cause your jaw to tense. Pharmacological treatments with anticonvulsants, analgesics and anti-depressants may offer substantial relief to some. For others, application of heat and warm compresses may do the trick.

  5. Trigeminal neuralgia is another disorder that causes stressed jaw joints. It includes stabbing pain in the face. It would feel like an electric shock. This condition commonly affects adults.

  6. A bad bite can also be a culprit. It is a condition that occurs when your upper and lower teeth won't come together in such a way that they no longer provide support for your jaw against your skull. A lot of reasons a person may have a bad bite. It could be about misaligned teeth or absent teeth.

Some patients thought that their dentists encouraged them to seek treatment for their bad bites mainly for aesthetic reasons. However, this condition is actually causing them to experience joint displacement or muscle strain in the future. According to some studies, a bad bite can cause a decrease in masticatory performance, making you feel self-conscious. It can also affect your diet and overall nutrition.If the condition is not taken care of, it can cause muscle spasms in the surrounding muscles. Muscle spasms in the jaw may occur when muscles overwork to compensate unstable bite. With every swallow, your upper and lower teeth should come firmly together. And when your bite is unstable, your muscles will work harder causing them to shorten and stiff, resulting in stressed joints.Talk to your dentist about bad bites. This condition may be causing you to suffer from jaw pain and jaw discomfort.

What foods to avoid when your jaw is so tense?

It is best to avoid crunchy foods while you are suffering from stressed joints. These will include popcorn, chips, and other salty foods. They can be difficult for your jaw to chew, especially if you have jaw pain.This is also the same with some vegetables, such as crispy celery and carrots.To ease the muscle tension in this area, you have to opt for softer foods and soften the vegetables first before eating them.Apart from crunchy or hard foods, it is also ideal to avoid consuming chewy foods, like chewing gum and tougher meat. The constant motion in your jaw muscles can exacerbate your condition. Again, it is ideal to stick to softer foods, like yogurt and bananas. Mashed potatoes and tender meats will also help.To ease discomfort in your jaw, some experts suggest cutting back on fat consumption. Saturated fat is said to increase inflammation in the body. That said, opt for lean protein and choose low-fat milk.Some vitamins and supplements may also help in relieving jaw pain. But you should consult your dentist about them. You may also benefit from eating leafy green vegetables that are high in magnesium, as this mineral is known to relax tired jaw muscles.To find out the real reason of why your jaw is so tense, visit Michael Z. Hopkins, DDS.

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