TMJ Jaw & Facial Pain

Solutions for sore jaws and facial pain

Cammie K7 003If you find yourself avoiding certain foods, sleeping on only one side at night, or taking frequent breaks to dig through your drawer for painkillers, you might be suffering from TMJ pain. “TMJ” stands for “temporomandibular joint.” While the name sounds daunting, the condition is well documented and affects many more individuals than you might think.

Because there are so many symptoms of TMJ face pain that could correspond to a positive diagnosis of Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), the first step is to consult Dr. Amy Yoo, a dentist in Calgary who is highly trained to identify where your pain originates from and how to treat it.

Where does the pain come from?

Whether you are experiencing a full blown case of TMD or just the early stages, feeling pain in your face and jaw is a common indicator. While it may not immediately make sense why a jaw joint issue would cause all-over facial pain, the truth is that your facial muscles are working harder than they need to during normal everyday activities like talking, swallowing, chewing, and yawning. Why? When you jaw is misaligned, your jaw muscles recruit the surrounding muscles to help them balance your jaw joint, stressing ligaments, muscles and nerves. This can cause radiating pain to peripheral locations around your eyes, ears, neck, or cheeks.

TMD Triggers

TMD can be caused by a number of single factors, or by the combination of more than one triggering factor. Here is a list of some of the most common factors that may contribute to a diagnosis of TMD.

  • Poor bite alignment through orthodontics.
  • Grinding or clenching teeth together during sleep.
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis that affects the jaw joint.
  • A poor bite due to genetic causes.
  • Poor posture that causes strain on the jaw joint.
  • Jaw trauma from an injury or accident.
  • Worn down or fractured teeth
  • Missing Teeth
  • Sleep apnea or airway obstruction

Do you have TMJ? Take our simple quiz

If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, you may be suffering from TMD.

  • You sometimes feel like your face or jaw muscles are cramping up.
  • You have symptoms that mimic a toothache, but you can’t identify which tooth is causing the problem.
  • Your jaw sometimes “pops” or “clicks” while you are chewing or yawning.
  • You feel pain or soreness while talking, chewing, or drinking.
  • Sometimes your jaw just feels tired or even locks up.
  • You experience facial tension or jaw pain.

Don’t ignore it. Treat it

Ignoring the symptoms of jaw or facial pain will not make the problem go away. Migraine headaches and nausea can also be caused by untreated TMD. But the good news is Calgary dentist Dr. Amy Yoo can help to ease your pain. TMD treatments are often gentle and can be as non-invasive as physical therapy to relax your jaw and reduce stress to the jaw joint. Orthotics, orthodontics, and restorative dentistry are other treatments that can help to realign your jaw.

While many people are reluctant to visit the dentist for fear of pain, the truth is that visiting the dentist for treatment of TMD will accomplish just the opposite – reducing your pain while restoring your jaw to its full function.