There is no one type of jaw pain that is associated with TMJ. Instead, it can cause many types of jaw pain, some of them very sharp pains, while others are dull, sore, or achy. You may feel the pain in your muscles, bones, or teeth. Sometimes the pain may be in the joint itself. Don’t just take medication to dull the pain—find its cause and eliminate it. If you have recurring jaw pain, you should be evaluated for TMJ, especially if you have other TMJ symptoms, such as headaches, tinnitus, or neck pain.
Types of Jaw Pain Associated with TMJ
There are many types of jaw pain that may be caused by TMJ. These include:
- Soreness in overworked jaw muscles
- Dull ache in teeth that are experiencing adverse bite force
- Ache in the jaw bone that supports these teeth
- Pain in the joint itself, often accompanies clicking, popping, or grinding sounds from the joint
- Sharp, sudden pain due to a pinched nerve
You may have all these types of pain, or just a few. They may come and go, or they may be constant. They may be progressive. Or they may go away altogether.
TMJ may resolve spontaneously, or it may worsen if left untreated. If your pain persists or seems to be increasing, it’s best to be evaluated to avoid irreversible damage that may be caused by bones grinding bones or teeth wearing down.
Jaw Pain and Other TMJ Symptoms
Depending on the specific cause of your jaw pain, you may also see other related TMJ symptoms. If you experience primarily soreness in your muscles, you may also experience tension headaches and migraines as that muscle soreness is transmitted to other muscles in the head. If you feel jaw pain in the teeth, you may also experience worn or damaged teeth. If you have nerve pain, you may also experience tinnitus or vertigo. And, of course, pain in the joint itself may be accompanied by sounds in the jaw joint and loss of movement or erratic movement of the jaw.
In order to design an optimal jaw pain treatment for you, it’s important for you to be open about your symptoms. These may be so diverse and seemingly unconnected that many people like to make a list before coming to our office so that you won’t leave any out.