TMJ disorders often share a link with tooth pain and other symptoms. It is hard to know if this tooth pain is related to TMJ or is a different issue without an evaluation by a dentist.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw muscles and joint.
Tooth pain related to a TMJ disorder can be hard to distinguish from tooth pain due to other issues.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
While tooth decay and gum diseases were likely behind this pain in many cases, TMJ disorders can also cause mouth and tooth pain.
TMJ disorders may cause pain in the mouth that is dull or sharp. The pain can be consistent or more sporadic. It may also resemble tooth pain from other causes.
TMJ disorder can cause tooth pain for a variety of reasons. One reason for tooth pain is that the TMJs in your body are
This means that pain in this area can radiate to other parts of the face and neck. When this pain travels upward, it may cause headaches, but if it travels lower, it can cause mouth and tooth pain.
You may also experience mouth pain if your jaw is
A common cause of TMJ disorders is grinding your teeth in your sleep, so this might also lead to tooth pain.
It’s important to remember that tooth pain isn’t the only symptom of TMJ disorders. Other
- clicking, popping, or locking of the jaw
- pain in the face, jaw, and neck
Other potential causes of tooth pain include:
- cavities and tooth decay
- a cracked tooth or damaged filling
- mouth infections
- sore or swollen gums
- an injury to the jaw or mouth
- ulcers on the gum
- an abscess
Very young children may also experience tooth pain as their teeth break through their gums. Similarly, adults may feel tooth pain if their wisdom teeth are emerging through the gumline.
It can be difficult to determine if your tooth pain is related to a TMJ disorder.
But you may suspect that your tooth pain is related to your TMJ if you also experience other symptoms of TMJ disorders like clicking of the jaw and headaches.
You may also suspect that tooth pain is related to a TMJ disorder if treatments for TMJ-related pain help reduce your symptoms.
Sometimes, healthcare professionals diagnose TMJ disorders through a process of
Your dentist can help you rule out other causes like cavities and gum disease. In some cases, there may be multiple causes of tooth pain.
Pain related to a TMJ disorder
If you have persistent or more severe TMJ tooth pain you
- a mouthguard
- facial exercises to help relax the face and jaw
- cold or hot packs on the face
- anti-inflammatory medications
- relaxation techniques (ex. meditation, yoga, journaling)
- practicing good posture
Eating soft foods and not chewing gum
TMJ disorders can cause jaw pain, facial pain, neck pain, and tooth pain. They can also make it difficult to chew.
If you’re experiencing tooth pain due to a TMJ disorder, it may be helpful to wear a mouthguard and perform facial exercises to help relax your face.
Your dentist may also recommend using hot or cold packs on your face or taking anti-inflammatory medications to help with TMJ-related pain.
It can be difficult to distinguish between tooth pain related to TMJ disorders, or tooth pain from other causes without a professional evaluation.
If you have any mouth pain, it’s a good idea to talk with your dentist.