Do you find that you are experiencing jaw pain lately? Do you wake up wondering why your jaw feels so tense or why you have a headache? When your teeth are misaligned it causes the jaw muscles to apply extra pressure to compensate for the poor alignment of your teeth, or a “bad bite.” This extra pressure increases stress on the surface of the teeth and will eventually lead to cracks, chips and jaw pain. Jaw pain results from a muscle strain placed where the upper and lower jaw meet, called the temporomandibular joint. When pain occurs, it is called TMJ disorder.
TMJ disorders are problems with the muscles or joints in your jaw. When left untreated, TMJ can lead to headaches, ear pain, bite problems, jaw pain and much more. There are several conditions that can end up causing TMJ, and you may be surprised that some are bad habits you picked up.
- Bruxism, or teeth grinding and clenching. Sufferers of bruxism often wake up with jaw or ear pain due to wear on the jaw’s cartilage lining.
- Gum chewing or nail biting
- Malocclusion, or the misalignment of teeth. Some find it hard to chew on a certain side, so they habitually chew on the other side causing excess stress.
- Previous jaw fractures or injury
If you feel that you have developed any of these symptoms, contact a dental professional for an examination. They will evaluate your symptoms and help provide treatment to alleviate your pain.