TMD And Tooth Sensitivity: How Are They Connected?

TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders affect the jaw joint and can cause pain and difficulty with chewing and speaking. Tooth sensitivity, on the other hand, refers to the sharp or sudden pain experienced when consuming hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks.

While TMD and tooth sensitivity are seemingly unrelated conditions, they may be actually connected. Read on to learn how they are linked with one another.

TMD Causes Tooth Sensitivity

The temporomandibular joint is closely located to the nerves and blood vessels that supply the teeth and gums. When the joint is inflamed or not functioning properly, it may lead to tooth sensitivity. Additionally, clenching or grinding of the teeth, which is a common cause of TMD, can also lead to tooth sensitivity. The excessive force placed on the teeth can wear down the enamel, exposing the sensitive dentin layer underneath. What this means is that if you have TMJ Disorder, you are more likely to experience tooth sensitivity.


Tooth sensitivity can be a real pain, especially if it’s caused by TMD. Fortunately, there are several treatments available to help alleviate the symptoms of TMD-related tooth sensitivity.

  • Night Guard: One of the most common treatments for TMD-related tooth sensitivity is the use of a night guard. This is a custom-made mouthguard that is worn while sleeping. It helps to prevent teeth grinding and clenching, which can exacerbate the symptoms of TMD and wearing down of enamel thereby causing tooth sensitivity.
  • Over-the-Counter Pain Relief Medications: These can include anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These medications can help to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with TMD-related tooth sensitivity.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy like exercises helps strengthen the jaw muscles and improve the range of motion. Additionally, massage therapy may be recommended to help alleviate muscle tension and pain associated with TMD
  • Surgery: This can include procedures to help correct jaw alignment issues or repair damage to the joint itself. However, surgery is usually considered a last resort and is only recommended in certain cases.

Treating Tooth Sensitivity Alone

Having tooth sensitivity doesn’t automatically mean that you  haveTMD. If you do experience sensitivity in your teeth, you can try various treatments and healthy practices. These include using desensitizing toothpaste, avoiding acidic and sugary foods and drinks, and undergoing a professional check for cavities and fluoride treatment.

Other Symptoms of TMD

Are you suspecting that you may have TMJ Disorder? In addition to tooth sensitivity, here are other TMD symptoms you can watch out for:

  • Pain Around the Jaw Joint: This pain can be felt on one or both sides of the face and can be dull or sharp. Additionally, some people experience pain in the neck or shoulders as a result of TMD.
  • Clicking or Popping Sound When Opening and Closing of Mouth: Some people may feel a clicking or popping sensation when they open or close their mouth, and also experience difficulty opening their mouths fully, which can make it difficult to eat or speak.
  • Headaches: People with TMJ Disorder may also experience headaches, particularly in the temples or behind the eyes. Some people also experience ear pain or ringing in the ears, which can be a sign of TMD.

If you are experiencing any of the above, contact a specialist to have a proper diagnosis and undergo appropriate treatment when necessary.