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Lower Jaw Pain and Sore Jaw Muscles

Coquitlam’s Altitude Dental

Lower jaw pain and sore jaw muscles could be symptoms of temporomandibular disorders. Altitude Dental in Coquitlam can help you manage or prevent TMD and TMJ issues.  What is TMD?  What is TMJ? It is temporomandibular disorders (TMD) or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and it relates to conditions with the jaw joints and which affects the facial nerves and muscles that move the jaw and jaw joints.  TMD often results in lower jaw pain and sore jaw muscles.

What causes sore jaw muscles?

Most people do not think of their face as being a network of 42 delicate inter-connected muscles that help us blink, smile, frown, laugh, sneeze, wrinkle a nose, lift an eyebrow and create an assortment of different expressions. These muscles help your face to move and they also help to provide tone or firmness to your face. Facial muscles are just like any other muscle group and they can become injured with over-use or incorrect use.

There are a variety of everyday and not so everyday movements that can pull our facial muscles causing them to be injured:

  • Talking or singing for a long period of time. Our facial muscles are used to short amounts of these movements and find longer periods a strain.
  • Constantly eating or chewing on foods that are chewy and tough like gum or beef jerky.
  • Opening the mouth wide for an extended period of time (such as at a dental appointment).
  • Eating food that you have to open very wide for - like a tall sandwich.
  • Injury due to accidents or the jaw being hit by an object.

How are injured jaw muscles treated?

Lower jaw pain and injured jaw muscles can be treated with the same basic methods as any other muscle group:

  • Taking medication that reduces swelling of the muscles
  • Resting the mouth and jaw
  • Heat or warm moist compresses on the injured area
  • Alternating the hot compresses with cold compresses to reduce swelling
  • Eating soft foods that do not require a lot of chewing
  • Limiting the amount of movement to the jaw

Jaw muscles take a longer time to heal then other muscles on the body. Expect to be resting your jaw as much as possible for a minimum of three weeks after an injury or event that results in sore jaw muscles. In extreme cases we may recommend a special mouth insert to be worn that helps the jaw sit in a rested position.

It can be hard to tell the difference between an injured jaw muscle and a swollen jaw due to issues on the teeth. The best action to take is to book a dental appointment at our office and have Dr. Vaida examine the area. This enables us to determine the problem and what muscles are involved.

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