Pain on Mouth Opening: Reasons, Diagnosis, Home Remedies, and Treatment

Have you ever experienced or heard someone complaining about pain in jaw movements like opening or closing of the mouth? If yes and want to know more about this, then keep on reading. Today we will discuss the reasons, diagnosis, and treatment in concern with pain on mouth opening.
So let’s start, here is the first question that what is this pain, is this any condition or disorder or any disease,
So let me tell you, it is known as a temporomandibular joint disorder. Yes, it is the name for the disorder causing pain in the jaw while opening or closing mouth. It is called a disorder, as it has multiple factors causing it.

TMJ disorder

This disorder is related to the TMJ ie, temporomandibular joint. The joint is important as it is the one due to which all the movements of the lower jaw occur in relation to the upper jaw. So any kind of abnormality in relation to the temporomandibular joint causes difficulty in opening of the mouth.
In severe cases, it can cause trismus or lockjaw
So now you know that pain on opening mouth occurs due to temporomandibular disorder, so let’s discuss its reasons.

Reasons

There are various reasons, due to which a person could suffer from pain on mouth opening.
Let’s discuss one by one,

Habits

Sometimes a patient has habits of clenching and grinding of teeth which is known as bruxism. This type of habits is harmful to the teeth as well as the temporomandibular joint and causes excessive stress over the joints, resulting in pain on movement of the jaw.

Gum Disease

The patient who is suffering from gum disease often experience swelling and irritation in the gums, this causes increased urge of clenching of teeth, causing an increase in pressure over the jaw joint and hence result in jaw pain.

Osteomyelitis

This is the condition which refers to the swelling of bones and joints, causing the jaw bone pain and difficulties in movement.

Synovitis

It is the condition of swelling in the capsule of the synovial joint (It is the capsule which lines the temporomandibular joint). The swelling makes joints to become painful.

Trauma

Due to any trauma or accident, if any injury occurs to the temporomandibular joint or any swelling occur in muscles, in relation to the temporomandibular joint, then it is painful to open mouth.

Pericoronitis

It is the swelling which occurs due to infection in relation to the impacted third molar. This causes increased pain and restrictions in mouth opening.

Pain-related to Nerves

The pain can occur due to trauma to nerves and this makes it difficult for the opening of mouth as it increases with jaw movements.

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Diagnosis

For diagnosing this, there are various methods:

Physical Examination

Firstly your doctor will check the normal movement of the jaw, also if there is any kind of clicking sound or deviation of the jaw while opening or closing.

X-Ray

This will help to identify any problem in teeth or jaw, such as caries or abscess or pericoronitis, which can also be the cause of jaw pain.

CT scan

It will reveal the detailed picture of the joint and help your doctor to see the condition of the joint.

MRI

It is related to the examination of the soft tissue related to the TMJ.

Arthroscopy

Apart from all of the above if required, then your doctor can advise you arthroscopy, this is used to diagnose TMJ disorder by inserting a tube and see TMJ and related tissues to detect any abnormality and swelling.

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Home Remedies

Soft diet

If you feel any pain in relation to TMJ, then you must have a soft diet and cut your food in pieces for some days. It will give a relaxing time to the joint and increase the chances of healing itself.

Massage

Massage TMJ

You can also massage the TMJ which is located in front of your ear lobe. Massage will relieve muscle stiffness and increase the chances of healing.

Heat and Cold Compression

Applying heat or cold pack will decrease the swelling of the muscles and improve healing.

Meditation

It is the method to decrease your stress level, due to which you are having habits like bruxism, this will calm you and your muscles.

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Treatment

  • Medicines such as anti-inflammatory are given to decrease the swelling, also analgesics and muscle relaxants are given, to relieve the muscle pain and stiffness. This medication can be given as a course of several weeks if the improvement is seen. As the inflammation and stiffness of muscles relieve, the pain and movement of the jaw become normal.
  • Appliances: If the reason for the pain is bruxism or habits, then the habit-breaking appliances such as mouth guards must be used.
  • Exercise: Some of the exercises of opening and closing of mouth might be given by your doctor, which will help to relieve muscle stiffness.
  • Surgical options: Arthrocentesis is, in this the fluid is drawn out with the help of a needle. This is done when there is an accumulation of fluid around the joint occurs. Injection of botulinum toxins is another method to relieve the pain in relation to the muscles of mastication (ie, muscles used to chew food).
    Other surgical options are arthroscopy and open joint surgery, in which the joint is opened and corrections are done.
    So this was all about the temporomandibular joint disorder or the pain on mouth opening. If you have any doubt or questions regarding this topic, you can ask us in the comment section below.

Dr Deepak Kansal is a dentist, who is currently working in Sri Ganganagar. He did his Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Rajasthan University of Health Science.

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