Jaw pain, Temporomandibular disorder (TMD)
Jaw pain, temporomandibular disorder, or TMD is a condition that affects the movement of the jaw. Two temporomandibular joints connect the lower jaw and skull. Precisely, temporomandibular joints slide and rotate in from both the ears and consist of temporal and mandible bones. Along with several muscles, they allow the mandible to move side to side, up and down. When the joints and mandible are correctly aligned, it paves the way to smooth muscle actions like chewing, yawning, swallowing, and talking. Temporomandibular disorder is usually severe but gets better on its own.
Signs of temporomandibular disorder
- Pain around the ear, jaw, and temple
- Clicking, grinding, or popping noises while moving your jaw
- Temple headache
- Hard to open your mouth fully
- Jaw gets locked while opening your mouth
- Pains while chewing or feeling stressed
- It can also stop you from a good night’s sleep
How to ease temporomandibular disorder?
- Consume soft food like soup, omelets, and pasta
- Ice or heat packs to the jaw
- Massage your painful jaw muscles
- Find ways to relax
What not to do to ease temporomandibular disorder?
- Don’t chew gums or anything hard
- Don’t bite your food in your front teeth
- Avoid yawning with your mouth too wide open
- Try not to bite your nails
- Don’t clench your teeth
- Don’t rest your chin on the hand
Consider a doctor when
- You are unable to drink or eat
- The pain interrupts your daily life
- The pain affects your sleep
- The discomfort or pain keeps coming back
The doctor might suggest a dentist if teeth grinding is the primary issue, a psychologist if anxiety or stress makes your pain worse, or a physiotherapist for jaw massage or exercise.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 23 JUNE 2022