When the Weather Changes, It Could Result in Jaw Pain
Posted on 10/19/2020 by Andrew Horowitz, DMD, MD, FACS
Over 15% of Americans suffer from chronic jaw pain on a daily basis. Most of these cases can be attributed to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, also known as (TMD) or temporomandibular joint disorder. Although in some serious cases such as trauma due to an automobile accident immediate attention is required more often than not the pain and discomfort experienced by patients is caused by an underlying condition that needs to be addressed. Anyone with severe pain should obviously seek medical attention immediately for a full exam and diagnosis.
Symptoms and Causes
The symptoms can include tenderness near the ear and along the jawbone as well as migraines and pain when chewing or biting. Sometimes there is a difficulty in opening or closing the mouth, which can coincide with a loud clicking sound. The patient might complain of tinnitus as well.
There are numerous potential causes for jaw pain. Due to the close proximity to the sinuses if the patient is sick and has a great deal of congestion, the swollen sinus tissue can put pressure on the TMJ and irritate it, causing discomfort. Infections in the mouth, such as decayed teeth or teeth in need of a root canal, gum disease, trauma or those who grind their teeth can also be affected. When the weather gets colder it also causes the jaw to be under greater stress and will ache or throb with pain. Cold weather can also cause more clenching and teeth grinding than warmer weather which would affect TMJ pain as well.
Treatment can include something as simple as mouthguards, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, exercising to decrease stress to the more complex root canal procedures, gum disease treatment and antibiotics.
It is important to note that while weather can cause jaw pain it is merely symptomatic of a potentially more serious underlying condition which may need to be diagnosed. If you would like an evaluation, please contact us to schedule an appointment.