Why does my jaw hurt?


Jaw pain is caused by temporomandibular disorders, or "TMD," according to WebMD. The cause of TMD is unclear, but dentists believe it results from problems with the jaw, the jaw joint and the surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and jaw movement. Injury to the jaw, head or neck, such as from a blow to the head or whiplash, are considered possible common causes of TMD.

Other causes of TMD listed by WebMD include: grinding of the teeth, dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the jaw joint, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and stress. Stress is thought to cause TMD because of the tightening of facial and jaw muscles along with the grinding of teeth.

According to WebMD, the symptoms of TMD include severe pain and discomfort. Tenderness in the face, jaw joint, neck and shoulders is also noted. Pain in the ears when chewing, speaking or opening the mouth is another common symptom. Other symptoms include lockjaw, a tired feeling in the face, difficulty chewing, swelling on one or both sides of the face, toothache, headache, sinus pain, gum disease, ear ache, upper shoulder pain and ringing in the ears. TMD sufferers may also experience clicking, popping or grating sounds when opening or closing their mouths.

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