Mouth or jaw pain can be caused by infected teeth or by Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, which is also called TMD. TMD is a disorder of the various muscles of your face and jaw that can create pain. Problems with the muscles in your face is called TMD, but when the pain comes from the joint in front of your ear, it is called TMJ.
No one knows what causes this condition, but dentists believe it can be caused by whiplash or injury to your jaw, joint or muscles in your face. Grinding your teeth at night puts a great deal of pressure on the joint, and a lot of movement in the joint can also cause this painful condition. When you visit a dental clinic, they can examine your teeth and the joint to determine if your pain is from TMD or other dental issues.
Arthritis in the joint and stress which makes you tighten your muscles can also lead to this condition. This condition can last for a short amount of time or several years. It is more prominent between the ages of 20-40. Some symptoms are:
You cannot open your mouth very wide without pain.
Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw, neck or shoulder region.
Trouble chewing without pain.
Your jaw locks up or feels like it's catching when you chew.
Swelling on the side of your face with our without pain.
Toothaches, neck aches and ringing in your ears.
Experienced dentists can evaluate and diagnose TMD. They can create a night guard or splint that you can wear in your mouth. The night guard is worn only at night and fits on your upper and lower teeth. This prevents grinding of your teeth at night and helps to position your jaw in the correct position to alleviate the pain. A splint is worn full time. It is designed like the night guard with an upper and lower mouthpiece piece that fits over your teeth. Only a qualified dentist can determine which one will work best for your condition.
A dentist may recommend that you have corrective dental measures such as crowns, bridges or realignment of your teeth to take the pressure off of your current teeth and correct your bite. This removes the trauma that your current teeth are suffering. You don't need to live with chronic pain of your face, jaw, neck or shoulders forever with the help of an experienced dentist.