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18555 N 79th Ave Suite A-103
Glendale, AZ 85308-8370

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Arrowhead Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
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Could a Single Nerve Cause TMJ Misery?

Posted on 1/17/2017 by Dr. Michael Allard
A woman suffering from severe TMJ pain.
Your jaw is an important part of your body and serves many functions. When it is in pain, your entire life can be affected. Suddenly, eating, speaking, even smiling or laughing becomes painful. The cause of jaw pain is often due to problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). But it can also be the result of your trigeminal nerve.

What is TMD?

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) refers to any pain you feel in your jaw, including your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ is the point at which your upper and lower jaws meet, allowing you to open and close your mouth, eat, speak and move your lower jaw from side to side. Pain in the joint or you jaw affects your ability to do these things. It can be caused by any number of issues - trauma, osteoarthritis, misaligned jaw, poor posture.

Symptoms include:

•  Pain in the face.
•  Difficulty or pain opening your mouth or while eating.
•  Clicking/popping while chewing.
•  Headaches or earaches.

What is the Trigeminal Nerve?

The trigeminal nerve, one located on each side of your face, are the largest nerves in your head. Each nerve has three branches, hence the name, and plays an important role with your jaw. The nerves are connected to the brainstem, unlike the TMJ, and sense temperature as well as pain. They also control chewing muscles.

Symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia include:

•  Pain on only one side.
•  A sharp or burning pain in your cheek.
•  Short spasms of pain.

Visit Your Dentist

If you are suffering from jaw pain, no matter if it's TMD or trigeminal neuralgia, you should make an appointment with your dentist. He will be able to diagnose the cause of your pain and then help you with the right treatment method to help ease your pain. Waiting will only worsen the effects.

Don't delay seeking treatment for jaw pain, hoping that it might go away. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and start feeling better.

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