Experiencing jaw pain while chewing can be very distressing and debilitating, and one must not waste any time in trying to get to the root of the problem. There are many reasons why one may experience this, and it is absolutely vital to find the exact reason behind it. Once the cause has been identified, it must be treated immediately, because experiencing this pain is something that one cannot live with.
The most common symptom is of course the pain itself. But you will be amazed at how many people pay no heed to this occurrence, and actively choose to ignore it, thinking that it is just a temporary occurrence that will pass by on its own. Only when the pain gets intense, do they actually sit up and take notice. Here are a few more symptoms to be aware of.
- Jaw tenderness
- Pain in the face
- Clicking sound when opening mouth.
- Difficulty in opening mouth
- Difficulty in chewing
- Excruciating pain in the back of the head.
A combination of any of these symptoms means that you are suffering from temporomandibular disorders, and need to have it checked immediately.
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ disorders) are disorders that affect the muscles and the joints of the lower jaw, and those that connect it to the skull. This is why the pain is excruciatingly painful and makes one feel like one's head is on fire. The TMJ joints exist on both sides of ones face, and are located just below the ears. This is the part that will hurt the most in this condition.
The exact causes for these disorders is not known in much detail. There are cases where the causes cannot be ascertained at all, and even in the cases where the causes are known, it is all very vague. Here are some commonly found causes of jaw pain that have been recorded by medical experts.
- Orthodontic braces
- Tooth grinding
- Bad Posture
- Dislocated jaw
- Jaw Fracture
- Structural defect since birth
- An external blow of extreme force
When a person is feeling pain in the jaw while chewing, it is almost certainly a case of temporomandibular disorder. These disorders most notably affect the teeth, muscles of the jaw, face, and neck, ligaments that are located nearby, nerves, blood vessels, and the cartilage disk at the joint.
Once you are aware of the causes and symptoms, you should know what to do next as well. Depending on your conditions you will have to visit a dentist and/or an ENT doctor (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor). The medical professionals will study you for possible causes of the pain, which may take some time and a few additional visits. Any abnormalities or infections will have to be examined carefully, and then treated subsequently.
You will first be subjected to some simple and gentle treatments like massaging the face, applying heat packs or ice packs to the face, stress reduction techniques, and carrying out some simple jaw exercises at home. If the pain persists, do not get disheartened.
There are extreme measures like orthodontics, jaw reconstruction surgery, TMJ surgery, or joint replacement that can help you, but these are rarely required. Other therapies that may be suggested by the doctor include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), trigger-point injections, radio wave therapy, and low-level laser therapy. The doctors will also tell you about the things you need to do in order to prevent the jaw pain from occurring again.
In most cases, the pain does not last long. It is something that is temporarily caused due to some external stress or force. If you are suffering from this condition, do not panic. There are ways to ease the pain, and with some time and patience you can get rid of the problem entirely.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.