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Why Does My Jaw Hurt When I Eat? | Marietta, GA

Posted on October 18th, 2015

Eating is one of the greatest pleasures of being alive. Whether you are enjoying a home-cooked meal or dining out for a special occasion, enjoying our food makes everything a little better.

But what if eating leaves you feeling pain? That can really bring down your mood, and it can affect those around you.

If you find your jaw feeling sore during or after a meal, you could be suffering from a TMJ disorder, also known as TMD. You’ll be glad to know that this is treatable. If you live in Cobb County, our team at West Atlanta Dentistry will be happy to help you.

What is TMD?

TMD stands for temporomandibular disorders. This includes a variety of conditions that affect your temporomandibular joint, which connects your jawbone to your skull.

This joint allows you to move your jaw up and down and side to side. This helps you open and close your mouth as you speak and eat.

If you are suffering from TMD (also known as a TMJ disorder), you may be experiencing any of the following symptoms:

– A painful feeling in or around your ears
– Pain or discomfort while chewing
– An aching feeling in your face
– Trouble opening or closing your mouth because your jaw feels “locked”
– Tenderness around your jaw

In some cases, you might hear a clicking sound or feel a popping sensation when you move your jaw.

You also could experience earaches and headaches (including migraines), pain in your shoulders and neck, and dizziness. You may even have hearing problems. While these symptoms aren’t exclusive to TMD, it could be a factor if these things are a common part of your life.

What is causing my TMD?

Just as TMD can cause a number of problems, it also has a variety of causes.

Sudden impacts can cause TMD. Maybe you were playing a game with your friends and you were hit in the mouth with a ball or a shoulder. Maybe you were walking and ran into something because you weren’t paying attention (or someone else ran into you).

Clenching your teeth can lead to TMD. Perhaps you clench your teeth together due to stress or grind you teeth subconsciously while you are asleep. Either way, you are putting added pressure on your joint.

Arthritis, the inflammation of your joint, may be a factor as well.

How do you treat TMD?

First and foremost, we want to determine what is causing your symptoms. Jaw pain and discomfort are good indications that you may be suffering from TMD. Even so, we want to be certain that is the cause before we start any treatment.

Our dental staff will give you an examination, take X-rays, and run other tests to determine if you are experiencing TMD. If you are, we will find the right treatment for your mouth.

One example of treatment is a mouthguard. This is similar to the mouthguards you may have seen athletes wear while competing. The difference is you wear your mouthguard at night. If you grind their teeth in their sleep, this will help you relax by changing the position of your jaw.

Bite adjustments are another option to minimize the effects of TMD.

And in other cases, Botox can be used to help you relax your jaw. By doing so, your temporomandibular joint will be under less stress and less pressure. In turn, this can lead to less pain for you.

Talk with your dentist

If you are concerned that you may be suffering from a TMJ disorder, please take time to speak with your dentist at Atlanta West Dentistry.

Before you come try to answer some questions about your symptoms. This will help our staff better understand what you are going through.

How long have you had your symptoms?

Is this the first time you have experienced something like this?

Are you taking any medications at this time?

Have you had any added stress in your life recently?

How often do you have trouble moving your jaw?

Do you have constant pain in your jaw, or does it hurt when you are doing specific activities?

Have you felt a clicking or popping in your jaw? If so, does it hurt?

We want you to eat and talk without discomfort. If you want to eat your next meal without worrying about pain, Atlanta West Dentistry wants to help.

If you live in or near Marietta, stop by our office at 1808 Powder Springs Road SW, or call us at (770) 941-6979 to set up an appointment.