Jaw pain is usually associated with pain found in the Temporal Mandibular Joint(TMJ). Generally, the cause of jaw pain can be broken down into two categories, either a macro trauma, that usually results from a single injury such as whiplash experienced in a car wreck or a micro trauma which is a result of repetitive stress to both the hard and soft tissues in the TMJ over time. The term Temporal Mandibular Dysfunction or Disorder (TMD) is used to describe a joint that is experiencing a trauma.
It is most common for our office to treat those experiencing micro traumas. What we have found is that many of these micro traumas are primarily the result of nocturnal bruxism. Bruxism is considered a medical problem and is refereed to as a Rhythmic Movement Disorder such as Restless Leg Syndrome and both can effect the sleep of a person. When a person purposefully "clenches" their teeth during the day the amount of pressure created has been measured and is usually 16 to17 thousand pounds. However nocturnal bruxism has been measured upwards to 57,000 to 58,000 pounds, nearly 3 1/2 to 4 times greater. Having this understanding, gives greater insight to the damage that is developed at night. (Oekson J., ed: Management of Temporomandibular Disorders and Occlusion. 6th ed.)
These kind of pressures will cause harm not only to our teeth but to our jaw joints as well. If one experiences this night after night, month after month TMJ issues will occur and manifest themselves as "jaw pain." If you are experiencing these kind of problems we would like to talk to you. You can reach us at (480)248-7788