Skip to main content

Jaw pain

Jaw Joint Problems

The jaw joint is the most used joint in the human body. It opens and closes over 2,000 times per day in connection with talking, eating, drinking, and snoring. Problems with jaw joints are more common in women than in men, and some have meanly drawn the conclusion that it is due to the livelier conversational tradition of women; however, this is probably not the reason.

When the mouth opens, the head of the lower jaw turns in the joint cavity of the jaw joint and then slides forward. The joint has a disk that helps in performing these motions. The disk is easily injured for instance by vigorous biting or direct trauma.

Functional Disorders

The reason behind a functional disorder of the jaw joint may be malocclusion. If the teeth do not contact symmetrically during biting, uneven stress may develop in the jaw joint, and this may cause symptoms over time.

One possible explanation for problems of the jaw joint may be nighttime grinding of the teeth. The person doing it may not be aware of it, if he lives alone or if his significant other is too polite to mention it.

The symptoms of functional disorder of the jaw joint may be a pain in the place or territory of the jaw joint as well as a cracking or popping sound in the jaw joint. The disorder may also cause headaches and pain in the neck muscles that involve biting and swallowing.

Examination often shows an asymmetrically closing jaw. This can be observed by looking in the mirror and observing the opening and closing of the mouth, following the spaces between the middle front teeth closely. Ideally they should move in a straight line so that they finally end up flush against each other.

Pain and additional noise during activity are often perceived in the jaw joint. The range of motion for the lower jaw may be limited or asymmetric. An x-ray helps to image the lower jaw bones, and if the disk needs to be seen, an MRI would be suitable.

Treatment first concentrates on checking and adjusting bite with the help of a dentist. A soft biteguard as well as muscle relaxants as needed may reduce the tension from nighttime teeth grinding. Anti-inflammatories will reduce the pain and irritation.

Physical therapy via massage and heat therapy can relax the muscles involved in biting. This may sometimes be sufficient. Sometimes the jaw joint needs to be trained in order to return it back to normal range of movement. Acupuncture treatments have proven valuable in treating the pain.

Sometimes excessive muscle tension is the fundamental problem, and it can be treated by biofeedback and hypnosis. Cortisone shots are an option as well. Surgery is uncommon.

The operation of the jaw joint is closely related to the operation of the upper neck. It is therefore advisable to check the functional situation of the upper neck as well as posture and the respective functioning of the jaw joint in cases of neck problems.

It is advisable to eat food that does not require forceful biting during the acute phase of pain. If necessary, only mashed foods or foods in liquid form should be eaten. Chewing gum is also not advised, but there are no restrictions for speaking. Some physicians will recommend quality over quantity in speech.

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can be used as a first-aid self-treatment during a short period to tackle problems of the jaw joint.

Cold compresses could be tried at the onset of pain. If that irritates, a hot water bottle or a heating pad may be used to carefully warm the painful area. The muscles around the jaw joint may be carefully massaged.

Avoid extreme positioning of the jaw, leaning against the jaw, resting on your back, reading with the jaw forward, and holding the telephone receiver with your jaw against the shoulder.

Hold your mouth so that upper and lower teeth do not touch. If there is a tendency of teeth grinding at night, trying to relax for example by taking a warm bath is recommended. A dentist can provide the patient with a plastic biteguard that alleviates teeth grinding and reduces the pressure to the jaw joint.

The jaw joint can be exercised while holding the teeth away from each other. On can push the lower jaw forward, pull back and slide it sideways. The mouth should not be opened forcefully, or the teeth should not be pressed forcefully together.

Jaw Dislocation

The jaw can be dislocated during forceful yawning, vomiting or due to a strike while the mouth is open. If the jaw cannot be set back, a doctor can do it by pressing it downwards. The doctor should cover his thumb during this procedure in case the patient inadvertently bites.

See a Doctor

Stronger headaches in connection with problems of the jaw joint.
Difficulties in opening the mouth.
Prolonged joint problems that can’t be cured by home remedies.

See a Dentist

Problems with your teeth.
Jaw joint problems that began after a dentist filled cavities.

Jaw pain, more information:

University of Washington´s article about the anatomy of the temporomandibular joint.
Emedicine about temporomandibular disorders.
Emedicine about mandible dislocation.


Popular posts from this blog


Headaches are very common and there are several headache types. Headache may also be called cephalgia. An estimated 80 percent of people suffer from headaches periodically. It is by no means always a sign of an underlying illness—you can get a headache because of a flu, too much partying, overexertion or nagging problems. There are many headache causes, but it is rare that a headache should signal a life threatening illness, but seeing a doctor is advised if the headache disturbs daily life, or it changes its form. A new and sudden headache symptom should always be looked into promptly. Headache treatment can be effective and there are a lot of efficient remedies for headache, so one has no reason to grin and bear the pain. Tension Headache The most common cause for headache is muscular tension. Approximately, a third of Finnish adults suffers from it. It was thought to be caused by excessive tension in the head and neck area muscles, which cuts down on circulation and causes

Neck pain

Neck pain Neck problems are a modern epidemic, especially with office workers. When talking to people who work at computers, it is rare to find someone who has never had neck problems or some kind of neck pain symptoms. The busier and the more stressful the jobs, the more problems there seem to be. Neck pain causes are not always clear and neck pain diagnosis is not always easy. The neck muscles were made for work where they contract and then relax. This happens for instance when chopping wood. It is remarkable how well the neck supports this type of activity after prolonged practice. However, while working at a computer the neck muscles only have to support, in addition to the head and arms, maybe the weight of a sheet of paper. Despite this, neck muscle pain problems crop up. This is caused by prolonged tension of the neck muscles, which they do not handle well. Tension Neck The most common cause for neck pains is the so-called tension neck syndrome. Its symptoms are

Calf, Ankle and Foot pain

Calf, Ankle and Foot pain The legs continuously carry the entire weight of a person and ankles and the feet take care of contact to the underlying surface. The Lower Leg consists of two long bones. The tibia or the shinbone is the larger one and the fibula or the calf bone is the smaller bone located on the outside of the leg. The calves have strong muscles. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles at the back to the heel bone. The ankle joint connects the lower ends of the tibia and the fibula in the lower limb with the foot. From the ankle down, the foot consists of 26 bones. This structure makes movement to be possible in various situations. Calf pain Muscle pain Calf muscle may be painful pain due to too much of exercise and lack of stretching. Sudden strain on unprepared calf muscle or a direct blow can also cause calf pain. Excessive running up the hills is often a considerable stress for calf muscles. Certainly some soreness in the muscles is a normal situatio