What’s the Cause of Your Jaw Pain?

Some mornings, does it feel like your jaw is the last to get moving? While getting ready for the day, you can hardly open your jaw wide enough to effectively brush your teeth. And let’s not mention the pain you experience when eating breakfast. If this sounds like a typical morning for you, or you experience jaw pain at random times throughout the day – finding the root of the issue can help move you towards a better quality of life. The most important thing you can do is attend your routine dental visits so x-rays can be taken of your jaw. These allow the dentist to locate any changes from the previous office visit immediately and make the necessary recommendations. Dr. Jack Haney discusses the common causes of jaw pain, including TMJ disorder, and what can be done to alleviate these issues. To schedule your visit, please contact our Knoxville office today online or give us a call at 865-693-6886.

TMJ Disorder

Perhaps one of the top causes, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joints located in front of the ears. These hinge joints are what connect your lower and upper jaw and give you the ability to move it. However, when the joints are irritated or inflamed due to arthritis, injury, or malocclusion – what would normally be effortless movement becomes painful and difficult. TMJ disorder affects about 15 percent of the American population and ranges in levels of complexity. When caught early, the condition can typically be treated with specially made oral devices, orthodontics, or muscle therapy. In more severe cases, Dr. Haney partners with on oral surgeon in the area to help restore proper balance to the bite.

Sinus Issues

While this may seem odd to read on a dental website, if you suffer from chronic allergies and sinusitis, it is not uncommon for the inflammation in your sinus cavity and ears to affect your upper jaw. What may feel like a toothache could very well be the result of impacted mucous in your sinuses. An x-ray of your jaw and sinuses will be able to reveal the root of your jaw pain.

Teeth Grinding

Chronic teeth grinding or jaw clenching, also known as bruxism, may also be the reason behind your jaw pain. Although the cause can be connected to an abnormal bite, missing or crooked teeth, it has also been linked to stress, anxiety, and sleep apnea. Most people are unaware they have this bad habit as it usually occurs unknowingly during sleep. Some people may, however, catch themselves doing it during traffic or stressful moments at home or in the workplace. Determining the why behind your teeth grinding habit will help you identify the right treatment solutions. Dr. Haney is equipped at treating mild sleep apnea, replacing missing teeth, or repairing back molars that have been damaged as a result of chronic teeth grinding.

Tooth Decay

When decay penetrates the more sensitive layers of a tooth, what initially started as mild sensitivity can quickly escalate to radiating throughout the entire jaw. Treating a cavity in the earliest stages can help save your tooth, as well as prevent the infection from spreading to nearby teeth and gums. The moment you notice any abnormalities when eating, drinking, or opening or closing your jaw – visit the dentist immediately.

Have Jaw Pain?

Let Dr. Haney review your teeth, gums, and jaw to help identify the cause so you can get back to enjoying a pain-free smile. You can request an appointment online or call our Knoxville office at 865-693-6886.

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