Patients who are experiencing jaw pain may have difficulty sleeping, chewing, or speaking. Due to the complexity of the jawbone (and the muscles, ligaments, and nerves that connect the jawbone to the skull), there can be many potential causes of jaw pain. During your visit to our Sacramento, CA office, Dr. Timothy E. Mickiewicz will carefully examine your symptoms before diagnosing the cause of your jaw pain and recommending treatments.
One benefit of working with our office is that Dr. Mick is equipped to deal with all phases of complex care (TMJ disorder, sleep apnea treatment, orthodontics, and more). Jaw pain is often due to an imbalance between the mouth, head, neck, and jaw.
Common Causes of Jaw Pain
During your examination at our Sacramento office, Dr. Mick may search for signs of these common causes of jaw pain.
Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorder (TMD or TMJ Disorder)
TMJ disorder is a common cause of jaw pain. The TMJs are the hinge joints on both sides of your jaw. TMJ disorder arises when the joints are not in proper alignment. The condition affects around 10 million Americans. There is no single cause of TMJ disorder. In fact, there may be multiple factors causing TMJ disorder for any given patient. Causes of TMJ disorder include:
- Injury to the jaws
- Teeth grinding
- Misalignment of the jawbone and skull
- Misaligned teeth
Sinus Problems that Cause Jaw Pain
The sinuses are the interconnected network of cavities within the skull. Chronic sinusitis (prolonged inflammation of the sinuses) or allergies can put pressure on the jaw joints. If your jaw pain is often tied to congestion and sinus issues, this may be the cause of your discomfort.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that causes chronic pain. The trigeminal nerve carries sensation from your face and jaw to your brain. Individuals who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia may experience pain, even when performing simple tasks like brushing teeth.
Pain from an ear infection can radiate outward toward the jaw bones. The inner ear and jaw also share the same nerve supply. Many people are surprised to learn that the nerve that controls the tensor tympani (a muscle deep inside the ear) also controls the chewing muscles
Teeth grinding is a common cause of jaw pain. There is no one cause of bruxism. Stress, poor jaw alignment, and other factors can cause late-night grinding. Many individuals who experience bruxism are unaware that they have the condition.
Dental Problems that Cause Jaw Pain
Toothaches are often perceived as jaw pain. Common dental problems that can cause jaw pain include cavities, decay, trauma, abcess, and gum disease.
Poor Bite Alignment
Over time, poor jaw alignment can wear on the temporomandibular joints. This cause of jaw pain can often be effectively addressed with orthodontic treatments.
Treat the Cause of Your Jaw Pain
Dr. Mick has decades of experience treating TMJ disorder and other causes of jaw pain. If you are ready to begin treating the cause of our discomfort, contact our Sacramento office online or call (916) 469-9178.