A twitching jaw muscle can have several causes and one of them is cleaning the teeth.

“Jaw muscles could twitch or spasm for a number or reasons,” says Brijesh Chandwani, DMD, BDS, Diplomate, American Board of Orofacial Pain, with Connecticut & NY TMJ.

Dr. Chandwani explains, “While teeth cleaning (dental prophylaxis) does not usually cause jaw pain or jaw muscle twitch, it does occur sometimes due to a few different reasons.

“During a professional teeth cleaning appointment, if the jaw is held open for too long, the jaw muscles can fatigue or spasm and subsequently twitch.

“The twitching does subside in a day or two in most cases. Applying cold compresses over the jaw muscles can help.

“Gently massaging the area which is twitching can also relax the muscle. Jaw muscle twitching can last much longer or may be followed by jaw pain if the jaw joint and the jaw muscles are not able to relax.

“History of headaches or TMJ disorders or teeth grinding can be associated with worsening of jaw twitching after a dental visit.”

Other Causes of Jaw Muscle Twitches

The other causes are the same as with any other body part.

So for instance, if the area above a lip or somewhere in your buttocks or calf has been twitching – simply because that’s what muscles do in the human body – why would the mandibular muscles be exempt from this very common and benign phenomenon?

Not drinking enough water, not getting enough potassium and magnesium, stress and strain at the computer for prolonged periods, and anxiety can all lead to harmless fasciculations.

You might also want to ask yourself if you’ve been over-using your jaw lately: eating a lot, laughing a lot, excessive yawning, talking or hollering, etc.

These actions, in more volume than usual, can cause fatigue leading to twitching.

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: ©Lorra Garrick