When you suffer from discomfort or pain, it makes even the simplest things much harder to do. Something as simple as eating can become a chore. The pain you experience can even deter you from completing these activities.
A stiff jaw can impact your quality of life in some drastic ways. The discomfort in your jaw can make it uncomfortable, difficult, or impossible to eat. It also affects your ability to communicate.
The onset of this condition can be sudden. If it happens to you, several things might be responsible. Here are some of the most common reasons for this condition.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
TMD is a condition that causes pain in the jaw joint and muscles. TMD can cause pain or jaw locking in the hinge joints. The hinge joints are found between the lower jaw and the temporal bone.
Pain and discomfort can also occur in or near the ear and face. Chewing can amplify the pain felt. It can also result in clicking noises or a grinding sensation.
Pain felt from TMD is usually temporary. At-home care can resolve the issue most of the time. When at-home treatment doesn’t work, you should seek out TMJ treatment from a professional.
Stress Can Cause Stiff Jaw
Feelings of stress and anxiety can cause people to clench their jaws unknowingly. It can also result in teeth grinding when you’re asleep. People with anxiety or stress may also be prone to clenching their jaw while awake or asleep without realizing it.
This can lead to jaw stiffness and pain as you go to sleep or wake up.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can result from several conditions. Stress, genetics, and dental problems can lead to bruxism. Dental problems such as misaligned teeth can cause your teeth to continually rub against each other.
When it’s caused by stress, you may not be aware you’re doing it.
Bruxism can cause problems for areas surrounding your mouth too. Your face and neck can become sore. It can also lead to headaches and earaches.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation. It affects joints and muscles all over the body, which can include the ones in your mouth.
People with rheumatoid arthritis have a higher chance of developing TMD.
The condition can lead to the jaw joints and surrounding muscles suffering damage. Over time, it can also lead to bone loss in the jaw.
Seek Help for Jaw Issues
If you have a stiff jaw, you should visit a dentist or doctor for professional help. They might be able to pinpoint conditions that are causing your jaw stiffness. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you’ll be able to get some relief.
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