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Dental Health

The Truth About Why You Have Jaw Pain
Dec 29, 2021

boy with mouth pain

Jaw pain is a common problem — with a lot of different causes. Some of these are things your dentist needs to address, while others may require a doctor’s care. Read on to learn more about your jaw pain and which path you may need to take.

Causes of Jaw Pain
Most jaw pain is due to an abnormality or injury to the joint of your jaw, but there are other possible causes as well. Causes of the injury of the jaw include:

  • pain from the muscles that control jaw movement
  • injury to the jaw joint
  • excess stimulation
  • a displaced disc that usually helps cushion the movements of the jaw
  • arthritis of the protective disc that cushions the jaw joint

Damage to the jaw joint or the muscles that control your jaw movement can be caused by several factors, such as grinding your teeth at night, clenching your jaw due to stress and anxiety, or trauma, such as getting hit in the face while playing sports.

Other possible causes include:

  • Cluster headaches
  • Sinus problems
  • Tooth pain
  • Heart attack

Symptoms of Jaw Pain
Obviously, if your jaw hurts, that’s a symptom. But there are different kinds of pain. Make note of the following so you can talk to your doctor or dentist. This information will help him or her determine the cause.

  • Facial pain that worsens when the jaw is used
  • Joint and muscle tenderness
  • Jaw alignment issues
  • Clicking or popping sounds with opening or closing of the jaw
  • Jaw locking
  • Dull aching to sharp stabbing pain
  • Toothache
  • Nerve-type pain, such as burning
  • Facial swelling

Possible Treatments
The treatment of jaw pain is based on its cause. Your dentist or doctor may recommend pain medicine, but may also suggest the following:

  • Antibiotics — if the jaw pain is caused by an infection
  • Applying an ice pack
  • Surgery to remove damaged bone, treat an affected nerve, or to diagnose the problem
  • Use of a mouthguard
  • Muscle relaxants or tranquilizers to aid in relaxing the affected muscles
  • Root canal treatment
  • Tooth extraction

If you suffer from jaw pain or facial pain, speak with one of our dentists for diagnosis and treatment.