Valley Dental Associates
9199 Reisterstown Road, Suite 206B, Owings Mills, MD 21117

Jaw pain may have link to emotional rather than dental conditions

Jaw pain may have link to emotional rather than dental conditions

When people feel pain in their jaw, the logical connection they make is to their teeth. But in spite of the proximity of the jaw to the mouth, the reason for the discomfort could just as likely be emotional.

According to a recent issue of The Journal of Pain, one reason people experience temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain may be depression or anxiety.

For five years, a team of German researchers studied more than 4,000 patients who were examined for medical and dental conditions, assessed for their level of TMJ pain and surveyed on a psychiatric risk factor questionnaire.

By the end of the study, it was determined that 122 participants suffered joint pain and 50 individuals complained of muscle pain. The researchers concluded that those with depressive symptoms were more likely to feel joint pain while the participants with muscle discomfort were experiencing anxiety.

TMJ affects the muscles and joints that control jaw movement and connect the lower jaw to the skull. Dentists whose patients complain of TMJ can frequently link the condition back to habits such as tooth grinding and facial clenching.

Genetics is also believed to play a role in the development of the condition. According to, the disorder occurs in women more than men and is more likely between the ages of 20 and 40.

However, the researchers from the University of Greifswald in Germany determined that the joint disorder felt by study participants was more likely linked to symptoms of depression rather than muscle pain. A mental condition can initiate more activity than normal in the jaw muscles, which can lead to occurrences of inflammation and muscle discomfort.

Another reason may be a chemical imbalance that occurs in the brains of those who have depression and anxiety, which may cause those individuals to process the pain sensation in an abnormal way, reported Stefan Kindler, M.D., of the university’s department of oral and maxillofacial surgery/plastic surgery.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
Valley Dental Associates has a great staff….they have always been friendly and accommodating to my needs. My first time there was a dental emergency, (I did have an actual first visit appointment […]
Arlene K.
Very pleasant experience. I come here regularly and am never disappointed. Hygienist Elena was excellent today.
Nicholas L.
Great service no wait time.
Caesar C.
Friendly courtesous staff. Appointment are always on time. When you call to scheduled they give you fast appointments.
Jarie K.
I like Dr. Gorman
Elyse S.
Dr. Challagulla is AWESOME!!! I had my first root canal and it was better than expected. A day later and I feel no pain. Thank you guys!!!!
Tyesha H.
Dr Gorman and staff are very thorough and sincerely concerned about patient dental health.
Sonia G.
Excellent service, from front desk to the dental chair.
Lacretia C.
patient care, as soon as you walk to the check in desk
Lacretia C.
Very good service!!
Ana S.
First time receiving care from that dentist. I’m impressed. . . he was awesome!
Wyona C.
I thought this particular treatment was going to be painful during and after but that wasn’t the case. It was a good experience (for the dentist) , and even a better experience afterwards when […]
Christeen H.
Great experience with this office. The staff was really helpful in getting me in on a short notice. Dr. Challagulla is an excellent doctor, very attentive to patient’s needs and concerns. I usually […]
Oksana L.
elena did a great job cleaning my teeth
Steven K.
Awesome! Dr. Gorman is a true professional and very detailed in his work.
Nick H.
I have already recommended two of my friends to this office. They are very professional and friendly.
Alicia H.
Friendly staff, clean office, and good work.
Kevin H.
Matthew is a huge asset to the firm. He is thorough, gentle and knowledgeable.
Marcia S.
The dental hygienist gave me a thorough cleaning and irrigation of my teeth and also made excellent recommendations.
Paul L.
The staff and Dr Oppenheimer are great. He pulled my teeth and I don’t even know it’s gone.
Verethia W.
We Accept Most Insurance Plans!
Learn More

We accept most insurance plans and will be happy to help you understand the coverage that you have. We will do our best to see that you receive your maximum insurance benefits for all covered services.

No Insurance? No Worries! See our discounts and offers here

Office Hours
  • Monday 8:30 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Wednesday 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Friday 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
Get in touch:
  • Phone: (443) 898-1240
Our Location