Why Does My Jaw Hurt When I Chew or Yawn?
Jaw pain is a very common phenomenon. Studies show that in the United States, more than 10 million people live with jaw pain. However, only a few get it diagnosed for proper treatment.
So, if you, too, have noticed that your jaw hurts when you chew or that it feels out of place on one side, then it’s probably due to TMJ Disorder.
What is TMJ Disorder?
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ, is a disorder related to your jaw muscles. More specifically, the temporomandibular joints. These are the joints that keep your facial structure intact and allow your jaw to function with ease. Thus, when these muscles or ligaments fail to do their job, it leads to a dysfunctional lower jaw.
You might pick up on a popping or clicking sound coming from your mouth every time you open or close it. Perhaps there’s significant pain under your ear or behind the jaw bone on the left side. Due to this, simple acts like chewing, yawning, talking, or even laughing with your mouth wide open can be extremely uncomfortable.
What causes TMJ?
Our jawbone is connected to our skull, which means it’s bound to be strong. Nonetheless, if constant pressure is applied to the area in the wrong way, it could lead to an overall imbalance. Here are a few actions that might seem innocent but could potentially lead to TMJ Disorder:
- Chewing Gum
- Clenching Jaw
- Stretching mouth wide open
- Grinding Teeth (Bruxism)
All in all, anything that puts a lot of stress on your jaw ligaments can be the reason TMJ flares up. In fact, at times, there’s nothing that you can do. Pre-existing conditions or physical injuries can also play a part in jaw pain, such as:
- Sudden Trauma / Injury
- Stress leading to Tension Buildup in Jaw
- Internal Infections
- Dental Surgery
- Tissue Disease
Treatment for TMJ Disorder
A misaligned jaw can cause far more pain than imaginable. Although sometimes it might seem harmless, if left untreated for long, it could cause the pain to worsen. There are various methods you can adopt to make the discomfort go away. However, your jaw will still hurt when you chew or yawn. That is especially when a professional evaluation is traded for home remedies. For instance:
- Eating Soft Foods
- Massaging the Jaw Area
- Applying Ice to the Jaw Area
- Refraining from widely opening mouth
- Putting a hand under the chin while yawning
Nonetheless, these lifestyle changes aren’t as helpful in the long run. Instead, getting a dentist to assess the damage done to your jaw could be far more feasible. You might have to wear a Mouthguard or get Orthodontics as a permanent solution. This will align your jaw and bring it back to its designated place, which means no more pain or discomfort.
To wrap it all up, if there have been times you’ve noticed that your jaw hurts when you chew, then TMJ could be the cause behind it. Although manageable, it is important to seek proper care to prevent future jaw imbalances. Thus, if you’re looking for an easy fix to that pesky jaw pain, reach out to Almond dental at our St. Anthony location at (612) 782-7000 or our Maple Grove location at (763) 762-7177. and schedule an appointment today!