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TMJ Facial Pain

Facial pain can be troublesome

Women with Facial PainIf you are suffering from:

  • A sore jaw
  • A terrible toothache that moves from tooth to tooth,
  • Pain in the side of your face
  • An earache
  • The sensation that your teeth are going to fall out

Over the counter medications can help provide temporary relief, but, if you have sought medical help with no success, you could be looking in the wrong place.


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Your facial pain may have a dental cause

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder occurs when your temporomandibular joint (the joint that attaches your jawbones to your skull), is out of whack. A TMJ disorder can cause facial pain three ways:

  1. When your muscles battle your jawbones
    Your jaw muscles are very powerful. If your jaw is not properly aligned, your powerful jaw muscles attempt to rectify the problem by pulling your jawbones into place. They often win this round of the battle, but the result is tooth grinding and jaw clenching. The discomfort of strained teeth and jaw muscles continues as this un-winnable war between bones and muscle rages on. Eventually your jaw muscles tire, causing stress, strain and pain.
  2. Muscle cramps
    Your facial muscles cover the front of your skull like stretched elastic bands. If your jaw is misaligned, your muscles can be pulled more in some places, and compressed in others. As your muscles strain, lactic acid can build up, causing your muscles to cramp. This cramping can occur away from the site of the actual cramped muscle. It’s known as referred pain. When a muscle is pulled from one end, the opposite end is often the one that stretches, and feels the pain. The pulled muscle can also impact the nerves and tissues it’s connected to, sending pain signals to your eyes, ears, cheeks or teeth.
  3. Irritated nerves
    Your cramped muscles can irritate your facial nerves. This can be a very unpleasant experience that can feel like an electric shock, throbbing, nausea, or pain that radiates up and down your face. This is one reason why TMJ facial pain is often mistakenly confused with migraine headaches.


TMD Decision Guide

Treat the cause, not the symptoms

If a misaligned bite is the cause of your facial pain, TMJ dental treatment options can help to resolve it. Through testing and evaluating, a dentist can pinpoint what’s causing your jaw alignment problem and plan a course dental treatment options that can rebalance your jaw to relax your muscles, and tackle your pain.