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If you’re suffering with jaw pain, this can actually be incredibly frustrating and make a lot of everyday activities difficult. Our jaws are integral when it comes to talking and eating and jaw pain can also make it difficult to sleep or to relax and feel at ease at all.

Unfortunately though, severe jaw pain is common and there are many potential causes. This can make it difficult to combat and that’s why many people will live with jaw pain for many years without getting effective treatment. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes then and how you might go about treating each of them.

Bruxism

Bruxism is the technical name for tooth grinding. Many people find that they grind their teeth either during the night or even throughout the day, which in turn is very often caused by stress. This can not only cause a lot of direct discomfort and muscular pain but is also very damaging for the teeth and can even lead to headaches and more severe problems.

To identify a possible case of bruxism, you can ask for a partner or a friend to watch you sleep and to listen out for audible tooth grinding. Alternatively, you can also ask your dentist to look for potential signs of grinding.

The most common treatment for bruxism is to use a mouth guard that the patient can use to prevent themselves from grinding.

TMJ

TMJ (or TMD) is temporomandibular joint disorder. This is a condition that is characterized by jaw pain and difficulty when eating and talking. TMJ can be caused by joint pain but it can also have a range of other potential causes and explanations. In short, it is not generally itself a useful explanation for jaw pain but rather just another technical term for that pain.

Other causes include direct trauma to the jaw, as well as joint problems. Disc displacement for instance can cause problems when the mouth closes and cause tenderness. Stress is also thought to be a contributory factor in many cases as it can render the patient ‘hypersensitive’ to pain.

Tooth Problems

Dental problems can often lead to jaw pain. This can be a result of a deep abscess for instance and especially of an infection which can reach the jaw. It’s also possible for jaw pain to be a lasting side effect of a number of dental procedures. If you have jaw pain and your doctor is unable to help, then often general dentistry practitioners will be able to help.

Degenerative Joint Disease

A degenerative joint disease is anything like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis which causes gradual deterioration of the joints leading to pain and impaired function. Arthrosis is localized pain and deterioration of the jaw joint often without inflammation.

There are many more potential causes of jaw pain as well as a number of correlations, risk factors and associations. If you are suffering with jaw pain then make sure to look into every possibility and speak with both GPs and dentists to try and find a solution.