One of the most common reasons why your jaw hurts when you chew or eat is a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD, sometimes mistakenly called TMJ, which stands for the name of the joint.
To diagnose TMD correctly one of our doctors needs to examine and evaluate you. During this evaluation, he or she could place their fingers by your ears and ask you to open and close your mouth, and checking to see how wide you can open your mouth.
Your jaw could hurt for a variety of reasons, most of which are related to a TMD.
Symptoms of TMD
There are other symptoms people who suffer from TMD have, other than jaw pain. These include:
Pain around the ear
Popping of the jaw while eating or yawning
Difficulty or pain opening the mouth widely
Locking of the joint when opening the mouth widely
Earache or ringing in the ears
Change in your bite
Treatment for TMD
Treatment for temporomandibular disorders include things such as wearing a mouthguard to prevent grinding or clenching the teeth at night and surgery. We always leave surgery for the last resort option when nothing else can be done to treat TMD.
Other non-surgical options include massaging of the jaw muscles, applying hot or cold compresses to relieve pain and inflammation, taking over the counter analgesics, and relaxation techniques for the area.
If you have pain in your jaw when you chew or speak give us a call and we will set up an appointment for an evaluation. You will probably get some X-rays then. Our surgeons are prepared to address any concerns you have about the treatment options for this very common condition. It is important to get to the bottom of the reason for your pain, so we can make you feel better as soon as possible.