What are the typical causes of jaw pain?
If you experience the symptoms of jaw pain then you may be suffering from conditions like TMJ disorder, tooth decay or any other number of dental conditions.
How can TMJ disorders cause jaw pain?
One of the most common causes of jaw pain is TMJ Disorder which affects the temporomandibular joint. This joint is responsible for helping you to breathe, eat and talk.
TMJ Disorders occur when there is an issue with your facial and jaw muscles. If your jaw-related pain is left untreated then it can actually result in the inability to move your jaw.
Causes of TMJ Disorders can include:
- Certain conditions or illnesses such as arthritis
- Inflammation in the muscles surrounding your jaw
- Misalignment of the jaw
- Injury to the jaw
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder may include:
- Pain or ache around your jaw, face or ears
- Constant headaches
- Locking or popping in your jaw
- Vision problems
- Ringing in ears
If you suspect a problem with your TMJ, see your dentist so he or she can recommend treatment or exercises. Sometimes, prescription drugs or surgery may be required to address the issue.
What are some diseases that are responsible for jaw pain?
Though we take many routine vaccines in childhood that have fortunately gotten rid of diseases, it’s still possible to get diseases that can cause jaw pain and other symptoms.
Tetanus is a bacterial infection that can cause your jaw muscles to stiffen or feel tight. This serious condition can result in spending weeks in hospital.
Is it possible for jaw pain to be caused by trauma?
Just like other bones in your body, your jaw can become fractured or dislocated. After taking a blow to the jaw, you may experience:
- Loose or missing teeth
If you are unable to move your jaw or have serious damage then you may need to visit the dentist to have your teeth repaired. Your dentist may also prescribe over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen to help.
What are some other dental issues that can cause jaw pain?
The cause of jaw pain is not just reduced to a singular cause. Here are some of the other common causes of jaw pain:
- Fractured or crowded teeth
- Toothache (typically with an abscess or cavity as the underlying cause)
- Teeth grinding
- Gum disease (which can cause your jaw bone to become damaged)
- Wisdom teeth erupting
- Misaligned teeth
These problems should be addressed as soon as possible, and fractured teeth are dental emergencies, so you should see your dentist right away. Until then, keep the tooth that hurts clean and try rinsing with warm water.
How can untreated cysts or tumours create jaw pain?
Not typically cancerous, odontogenic cysts or tumours can quickly begin to impact your teeth. If you suffer from these conditions then you may need surgery for removal.
How can jaw pain be the cause of cluster headaches?
One of the most painful types of headache, cluster headaches can result in pain around or behind one eye, with pain radiating to reach the jaw.
How is osteomyelitis occasionally responsible for jaw pain?
A type of infection that occurs in the bone, this condition can impact your mandible (lower jaw). Referred to as anaerobic osteomyelitis, it can cut off the blood supply to your jaw and damage bone tissue if left untreated.
What are some methods of relieving jaw pain?
- Apply a warm, wet washcloth or ice pack covered in cloth to your jaw (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off)
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
- Rub the affected joint. Massage the joint using your fingers, pressing the sore areas of your jaw and moving to the side of your neck.
- Avoid caffeine (which can potentially contribute to muscle tension)
Professional Dental Care
If your jaw pain persists after at-home remedies, make an appointment with your dentist.
At Parkland Dental, our dentists will discuss your symptoms with you, complete a comprehensive oral examination, explain possible treatment options, and develop a custom treatment plan that may include a mouthguard or other measures depending on your needs.
In rare cases, oral surgery for TMJ Disorder may be recommended to correct the problem for those with severe pain that suffer from structural problems in their jaw and haven’t found relief with other remedies or treatments.