Facts About Jaw Pain and TMJ Disorder

facts about jaw pain and tmj disorderIf you’ve ever wondered why tooth and jaw pain can be so debilitating, the answer can be found in your trigeminal nerve – the fifth and largest of your cranial nerves. Its three branches are largely responsible for your jaw’s movement, and when disturbed, they can distribute pain throughout your jaw, head, face, and more. For instance, TMJ disorder, which affects your jaw’s temporomandibular joints (TMJs), can place pressure on your trigeminal nerves, and the resulting discomfort can often prove debilitating.   

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder

TMJ disorder can be caused by one or a combination of many different factors, including crooked teeth, uncontrollable teeth grinding (bruxism), asymmetrical jawbones, and more. In fact, any condition or injury that places undo pressure on your TMJs can lead to TMJ disorder.

Because trigeminal nerves are the most dominant of your 12 cranial nerve groups, TMJ disorder and other trigeminal discomfort can manifest as more than just jaw pain. Common symptoms of TMJ disorder can include;

  • Sore, painful jaw muscles
  • Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
  • Chronic headaches and migraines
  • Occasional locked jaw
  • Sensitive teeth (TMJ disorder can cause bruxism as well as result from it)

How to Treat TMJ Disorder

If you experience frequent jaw pain, then a jaw dysfunction may be a likely reason, and you should schedule a dental examination as soon as possible. If you are diagnosed with TMJ disorder, then we can help you determine the source and recommend an appropriate course of action. In many cases, orthodontic treatment with an oral splint can help restore proper jaw alignment, allowing your TMJs to heal.