Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, Pain in Jaw

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What is TMJ?

Jaw pain, also known as TMJ is when the joint of the jaw is affected either through a muscle, ligament, or the bone itself. There is a plethora of issues with TMJ all of which uniquely link to the affected area of the jaw.  It is important that if you are experiencing persistent pain and are struggling with eating, drinking, and talking, you contact your dentist immediately so they can assess the area.

What causes pain in the jaw?

Jaw pain can be the result of numerous factors. TMJ has no identified link to a specific cause, however, there are a handful of causes.

  • Trauma to the jaw can leave long-lasting impacts on the jaw’s function.
  • Dental treatments with prolonged periods where the jaw is kept open.
  • Overstretching the jaw whilst eating, yawning, or talking.
  • Clenching and grinding of the teeth.
  • Disc displacement of the jaw.

How to prevent TMJ?

TMJ and jaw pain can be hard to prevent given the typically sudden nature of the issues, and most causes stem from injury. The best ways to exercise caution is to:

  • Avoiding hard foods like hardboiled candy. Instead eat foods that are soft and easy for the teeth to break down.
  • Avoiding chewy foods like sugary sweets or beef jerky.
  • Avoid stressors.
  • Avoid opening the jaw extremely widely whilst yawning, eating, chewing nails, gum, pens, or pencils.
  • Using a nightguard can help stop teeth grinding.
  • During the day try practicing not grinding the teeth.
  • Massage the jaw if you are experiencing minor pain.
  • Quit smoking and drinking.

How to treat pain in the jaw?

Treating TMJ can vary from case to case as varying factors can influence the appropriate treatment needed.  Most commonly you will be advised to use ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve the pain.

In cases where patients are experiencing severe pain and it is debilitating from everyday tasks, it’s important to see a dentist. In cases where the impact is substantial, surgery will likely be advised. Surgery entails a surgeon assessing the jaw and then manoeuvring the jaw to correct the problem.

In cases where the jaw cannot be manoeuvre into the correct state, the surgeon may open up the joint and work on the ligament, bone or cartilage. When the jaw joint is beyond repair, patients will have an implant fitted with a prosthetic jaw.

How to spot pain in the jaw/symptoms?

Some of the more notable symptoms of TMJ are pain in and around the jaw, neck, back, ears and face. This may limit the movement in the area, hindering speech, eating, and drinking.  When moving the jaw, you may be able to hear popping, clicking or snapping sounds. Some may struggle to align their bite the way it typically does, whilst others may experience headaches.


Where are we?

Just a short-walk from the nearest tube and DLR stops, German Dental is conveniently situated in the City of London, opening Monday-Friday from 10am-6pm for appointments.


German Dental Clinic
1-3 College Hill
Lower Ground


Nearby Tube Stations

Cannon Street

Cannon Street

0.2 miles


0.4 miles


0.4 miles

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