Those burning gums, like they’re on fire; what can be causing this? It’s possible that temporomandibular joint disorder is the culprit.

“TMJ” isn’t just about a clicking jaw or pain when chewing. It can cause so many other symptoms that you’d never think would be connected to this common condition.

“Pain in TMJ disorders usually stems from either the joint structure (arthritic) or muscles, and it tends to be sharp or achy or pressure like,” explains Brijesh Chandwani, DMD, BDS, Diplomate, American Board of Orofacial Pain, with Connecticut & NY TMJ.

“Burning pain is more often experienced in nerve disorders, but the ultimate nature of the pain in an individual depends on the genetics, pain threshold of that individual, past experiences (pleasant or unpleasant), behaviors etc.,” continues Dr. Chandwani.

The TMJ and the Gums

Dr. Chandwani explains, “In TMJ disorders, pain can refer from the jaw muscles to the gums or tooth, and sometimes that is the only symptom in the individual and it certainly could be burning in nature.

“I view pain as a unique experience for each individual similar to other sensory experiences (itch or thirst or heat).

“Intermittent burning pain (or pain with changing intensity) is more likely to be due to TMJ disorders than a constant one.”

Burning of the lips or tongue is not caused by TMJ disorder.

If there is a burning sensation of your lips, tongue, throat or the roof of your mouth, there can be any one of a number of causes. And some of those causes may affect the gums too.

See your doctor for any symptoms that cause burning.

Dr. Chandwani has 10+ years of experience focusing on TMJ disorders and sleep disorders.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
Top image: Shutterstock/Jaromir Chalabala