Jaw pain is often diagnosed as Temporomandibular Dysfunction/Disorder or TMD. The jaw is a very complex and unique joint in the body. Jaw pain can be caused by a number of different reasons:
- Prolonged mouth opening
- Gum Chewing
- Blow to the face or jaw
- Neck injury
- Many times the reason cannot be identified
Commonly what we discover is that the patient who is experiencing jaw pain is unable to open their mouth evenly. If you watch yourself in the mirror you may notice that your chin will go toward one side or the other in a consistent manner, it may be subtle, but this is important. Often patients will constantly clench their teeth or grind their teeth at night. This is problematic because of the constant stress on the joint and its associated structures.
One thing that may identify you as a possible person with TMD is ask yourself, when you are just sitting relaxed where are your teeth inside your mouth? Are they together or apart? Where is your tongue in your mouth? The correct answer should be teeth apart and your tongue touching the roof of your mouth. If your answers were anything but that then you may have TMD or may be susceptible to jaw pain.