Why Does My Jaw Hurt on One Side?

Model of human skull for TMJIs your jaw stiff or painful to move on one or both sides? A disorder of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) could be the culprit. TMD can cause recurring jaw pain and many other symptoms that can affect your quality of life. Thankfully, your dentist has the solutions you need to stop your pain with TMJ therapy.

Understanding TMJ Disorders

Your TMJs are located on either side of your face, connecting your jaw to your skull. They allow you to open and close your mouth and move your jaw in multiple directions for everyday tasks, like chewing. Unfortunately, one or both joints can function incorrectly due to many factors. No matter the reason, common symptoms of a TMJ disorder include:

  • Recurring jaw pain
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sensation
  • Jaw locking in an opened or closed position
  • Headaches
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Neck or shoulder pain

Symptoms can come and go or be persistent, depending on the severity and cause of your jaw dysfunction. You don’t have to wait for the pain to become unbearable before seeking help.

Causes of TMJ Dysfunction

TMJ disorders can occur in anyone, no matter their age or gender. However, certain risk factors can increase your risk, like:

  • Arthritis
  • Past injury
  • Poor bite
  • Bruxism

How to Stop Jaw Pain

If you’re ready to conquer your jaw pain and improve your oral functions, contact your dentist. They’ll examine your mouth and perform diagnostic testing to determine the source of your discomfort. They will create a personalized plan to manage your TMJ pain, which may include:

  • Relieving Stress: Stress is a common cause of TMD because it triggers bruxism. Grinding and clenching your teeth strains the joints, which can cause inflammation. Reducing stress and practicing jaw-strengthening exercises can stop bruxism and improve TMJ symptoms.
  • Improving Your Bite: A balanced bite is important for your dental health and oral functions. If your upper and lower teeth don’t rest in harmony, it can put pressure on your temporomandibular joints and lead to uneven dental erosion. Fixing your bite with orthodontics can improve your oral functions and resolve your pain.
  • An Oral Appliance: A custom-fit device can reposition your jaw to train it to rest in a more comfortable position to alleviate strain on the joints.
  • Surgery: Surgical intervention is only used as a last resort when other options haven’t been effective.

You won’t think twice before chomping down on a juicy hamburger with TMJ therapy. Pain-free days are possible with a TMD specialist.

About Dr. Lance Timmerman

Dr. Timmerman earned his dental degree at the Oral Health and Sciences University and has regularly continued his education in advanced services, like dental implants, sleep apnea, and TMJ therapy. He is affiliated with many professional organizations, including the Academy of General Dentistry. If you have jaw pain, request an appointment through our website or call (206) 350-6199.

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