Why is my jaw aching? (TMD)

Why is my jaw aching? (TMD)

Frequently asked questions about jaw pain

  1. Why is my jaw aching (TMD)?
  2. What causes TMD?
  3. How can I prevent TMD?


1. Why is my jaw aching?

  • Does your jaw ache when you are talking or eating?
  • Do you find it hard to keep your mouth wide open when visiting the dentist?
  • Do you wake up with headaches, neck, or facial pain?
  • Does your jaw feel sore?
  • Does your jaw click, pop or lock when opening or closing your mouth?
  • Do you have back and shoulder pain?


These are symptoms of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and they are common! TMD is a painful disorder which patients can often overlook and not realise that they can receive treatment.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a synovial hinge joint that connects your lower jaw to the skull and allows the lower jaw to move. The TMJ is positioned in front of the tragus on the ear, on both sides of the head. The TMJ is constantly moving due to speech and eating and is controlled by a group of muscles which allow the jaw to move.


2. What causes TMD?

TMD can be caused by muscular or joint problems, some of these are:

  • Clenching or grinding teeth, often when asleep
  • Arthritis
  • Chewing gum constantly
  • Dental treatment which has altered your bite
  • Back and neck problems/posture
  • Trauma to the jaw


3. How can I prevent TMD

Your dentist will be able to diagnose TMD, establish underlying cause, and help with management.

The best way to prevent TMD is to treat the underlying cause!

Home remedies:

  • Minimise stress levels and create a winding-down bedtime routine
  • Meditation and relaxation methods can help relieve tension in the jaw muscles
  • Stop chewing gum
  • Posture correctors
  • Eating softer foods


Physiotherapy exercises will strengthen and support the jaw to gain full motion of the TMJ.

Dental treatments:

    • Balancing and correcting the bite
    • Splint/night guard to prevent the teeth from grinding against each other
    • Botox injections to freeze the jaw muscles every four to six months
    • Referral to an oral surgeon


If you would like more information about TMD, why not give us a call on 01772 335207 or fill out the contact form and we will be in touch.

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