Jaw Pain May Have Several Causes
Sometimes jaw pain is just temporary. You may have over-used the muscles while chewing hard food, or even just slept on that side in an awkward position. Other times, however, chronic jaw pain can be a symptom of something more. It could be a problem associated with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint), and/or a malocclusion (poor bite) in which your teeth don’t close together properly.
Your temporomandibular joint is the connection between your lower jaw (mandible) and the base of your skull. For the proper function to occur, the teeth, jaw bone, and muscles must all work in unison. The jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body, with the average person generating 162 lbs per square inch with their bite. When jaw alignment is off, these powerful muscles can cause a lot of trouble.
Symptoms for TMJ disorder include jaw pain, headaches, earache, as well as clicking, popping, or locking of the joint.
If you experience these symptoms, consider scheduling an appointment for an evaluation. We can check you for signs of TMJ disorder, as well as malocclusion.
Malocclusion describes an improper bite alignment when the teeth close together. There are many different types of malocclusion, each named for the positions of the teeth. The most well known of these include:
- Open bite – Molars close correctly while the font teeth remain open and don’t overlap
- Overbite – Upper teeth protrude too far over the lower jaw
- Underbite – Lower front teeth are positioned farther forward than the top teeth
- Crossbite – One or several of the top teeth fail to close with the corresponding bottom teeth
A severe malocclusion may result in enamel wear from teeth striking together, tooth grinding (bruxism), as well as jaw pain, TMJ disorder, and difficulty when eating.
If you have either a cosmetic or functional problem with your bite alignment, contact us today for a consultation!