A Visual Guide To TMD For Your Jaw Pain

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The medical term of the jaw joint is the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The jaw is made up of bone below the mouth and bone just above the mouth. The injuries or disorders in TMJ can develop jaw pain. The condition in which a person has difficulty in speaking and eating is referred to as jaw pain. The problem is ears, teeth, and the jaw itself can cause jaw pain. The jaw pain can be mild to severe which needs medical attention. It is difficult to identify that jaw pain is the issue related to the jaw or any other part. 

Jaw pain causes

There are possible and common causes of jaw pain as follows: 

  • Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMD): TMJ and TMD both are similar terms. It is the most common cause of jaw pain. The hinge joints that are present at each side of your jaw are known as temporomandibular joints. The injury in the jaw joint, disc displacement, etc., can cause TMD jaw pain. 
  • Headaches: Not the normal headaches but the cluster headaches that cause pain around the eye. This pain can cause jaw pain as well. It is the most painful headache which can cause severe jaw pain.
  • Sinus problems: The air-lift cavities located close to the jaw joint are known as sinuses. If some infection will develop in the sinus, then it can cause jaw pain. 
  • Tooth pain: There are chances that severe tooth pains can also cause pain in the jaw joint

What Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction exactly is? 

The hinge joints that are present at each side of your jaw are known as temporomandibular joints. The pain in the muscle and jaw joint that controls your jaw movement is known as TMJ disorder which is a type of TMD disorder. The main reason for the disorder is difficult to find as it can be due to genetics, arthritis, and jaw injury. 

Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction 

  • Pain in your jaw
  • Pain in one or both TMJ joints
  • Pain around your ear
  • Difficulty in chewing and eating food
  • Mild facial pain
  • Difficulty in opening and closing of the mouth

Causes of TMJ dysfunction

There can be various causes of TMJ dysfunction:

  • Physical injury
  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Dental surgery
  • Infections from germs or bacteria

TMJ treatment

There is a different type of TMJ treatment which in severe condition patients should follow:

  • Lifestyle changes – It is not always necessary to go to the doctor and take treatment. There are some situations in which you can treat TMJ at your home by doing proper care of yourself and do some changes in your lifestyle. The TMJ treatment at home recommends proper rest and reduces jaw movement. You can do easy and simple exercises so that the condition becomes better like slight jaw movements, massaging muscles which will decrease jaw muscle pain. The changes in the lifestyle can be like to avoid very cold and sour food items. The pain can be reduced by applying moist heat.
  • Treating existing conditions – The pre-existing cause needs to be treated first. There are different disorders due to which TMJ dysfunction happens. For example – mouth guard ease and relief the pain of TMJ disorder is due to tooth grinding. In the condition of TMJ disorder due to osteoarthritis, steroid injections are recommended by the doctors. The steroid injection decreases swelling as well as reduces jaw pain. The doctors also recommend some pain relief medications along with steroid injection.
  • Surgery – In most severe cases of TMJ disorder surgery will be the last option for the patient. This will relieve jaw pain and restricted movement. The doctor recommended surgery for TMJ treatment only when actual joints are injured. 
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TMJ exercise for relief pain 

There are various exercises for TMJ disorder so that it will give relief in pain. TMJ treatment can also be done by doing these exercises.

  • Relaxed jaw exercise – Place your tongue on top of the mouth and behind upper front teeth. Now relax the jaw muscle slowly.
  • Goldfish exercise – Place one finger on the ear side where TMJ is located and tongue on the roof of your mouth. This is the partial or full opening of the mouth. First, go ahead with a partial mouth opening exercise then do a full opening mouth. 
  • Chin tucks – Let your chin up and down from shoulders back and chest up. 
  • Tongue up – Gently open and close your mouth and touch the roof of your mouth with tongue.

Jaw pain on one side

It is not always that your full jaw will hurt and injured. Jaw pain can occur on one side of the jaw. It can be serious or not very serious depending on the injury. Jaw pain on one side may be due to cavity or grinding teeth. There could be many reasons for one side jaw pain. Most commonly one-sided jaw pain symptoms appear in women. 

Causes of jaw pain on one side

  • TMJ disorders
  • Sinusitis
  • Dental problems like cavities, tooth decay, and more

Rare causes of jaw pain on one side

  • Trigeminal neuralgia: It is most common in women and affects the trigeminal nerve. It is a chronic disorder whose primary symptom is one-sided jaw pain.
  • Osteomyelitis: It is the infection that occurs in jaw bone after dental surgery due to the entrance of bacteria. 
  • Tumors and cysts: These both are the rare causes of one side jaw pain. The mass of cells is Tumors and cysts which contain fluid and both can develop jaw pain on one side. 

Treatment of jaw pain on one side

One-sided jaw pain is not so much a serious problem. The pain on one side of the jaw can be mild and for a short period of time. There are different simple and easy treatments for relieving the pain of one side jaw. 

  • For relieving pain, you can use a heating pad for jaw muscle relaxation
  • For reducing swelling use ice compress
  • Give rest to your jaw
  • Massage the jaw muscles gently which will reduce swelling and pain as well
  • Don’t sleep on that side where you have pain. Change your sleeping position.
  • Eat medicines prescribed by the doctor