What Are the Causes of Pain in Jaw – 7 Possible Reasons


If you suffer from an episode of lower jaw at this time, or have suffered acute jaw pain in the past, you may need to seek medical attention immediately.

There are several reasons why jaw pain occurs, including fractures, arthritis, whiplash injury, dislocations or structural problems in your jawbone.

If you experience one of the following symptoms, you might suffer from lower jaw pain; some of them are, popping jaw or clicking, locked jaw, jaw ache, jaw sore or even some kind of feel like a dislocated jaw.

Don’t worry, your jaw pain can be treated and mostly by natural means. Certainly, knowing the causes of your jaw pain is the most important part before treatment is carried out.

So what are the causes of jaw pain that you may experience at the moment?

Causes of Jaw Pain

Below are 7 main reasons why jaw pain occurs, and maybe some of causes are having a relationship with certain diseases that must be resolved before you put on treatments over your jaw pain.

1. Having Injury

It is undeniable that having injury is the most obvious cause of a lower jaw pain. If you have had a facial collision recently, as a result of a face attacked, fell or had an accident, then you will most likely experience jaw pain which is clearly caused by an injury to the jaw joint.

2. Cluster Headaches

Do you know what cluster headaches are? It is one of the most painful types of headaches that an individual may experience. If your jaw ache is accompanied by pain behind or around your eyes, there is a possibility that your jaw pain is a result of a cluster headache.

3. Having Sinusitis

Sinusitis may cause a lot of discomfort, people with sinusitis will tend to get a lot of pressure under their eyes, besides it is also radiates down to the jaw.

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If you suffer from jaw pain and also suffer from sinusitis at the same time, it’s likely that your jaw pain is related to that.

4. Getting Tooth Pain

Because the jaw sustains your teeth, and you suffer from toothache as well as jaw pain, there is a possibility that your jaw pain occurs due to a tooth abscess. However, make sure there are no other causes behind your jaw pain.

For this reason, see your dentist immediately for the treatment of your teeth.

5. Having Nerve Damage

Nerves spread throughout the body, including your face. If you suffer from nerve pain, it can spread into jaw pain.

Compression of the Trigeminal nerve may lead to a symptom called Trigeminal Neuralgia, which gives an unpleasant sensation to the face and leads to jaw pain.

6. Having Heart Attack

You might be surprised to realize that heart attack can cause jaw pain. However, not everyone experiences a sensation of jaw pain when suffering from a heart attack, but for people some it could be one of the early signs.

While the chest pain is the main symptom for heart attack, for some women, they will suffer from jaw pain along with pain in the arms, back and neck.

7. Having TMJ Disorder

Lastly, the most common cause of jaw pain is “Temporomandibular Joint Disorder” aka (TMJ). The TMJ joint is a kind of joint which responsible for the proper movement of the lower jaw, located on either sides of back of the jaw.

Other than that, there are also a bunch of nerves, muscles and ligaments which all work side by side to help you to chew and talk properly.

Having disruption in functioning such as bad bites or bad habits such as grinding or clenching teeth and trauma, may lead to TMJ joint disorders.

TMJ joint disorders also indicate other symptoms, apart from jaw pain, some of them are;

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  • By the time you open or close your mouth, you will hear a popping and clicking sound over your jaw.
  • Stiffness that radiates in your jaw, causing the jaw to lock in position in severe condition.
  • Migraine or chronic headaches.
  • Increased teeth sensitivity or having tooth pain.
  • Getting pain in the ear or ringing which has no relation to any infection.
  • Developing any discomfort over your neck, shoulders and upper back.
  • You may have swelling over your face around the joint area which is tender to the touch.
  • Therefore, the common causes of TMJ disorders range from trauma, structural abnormalities and grinding of teeth due to stress.

If you have one of the symptoms above, make sure you get a proper diagnose regarding to TMJ disorders immediately.

How to Treat Jaw Pain in Common Ways

You can apply ice or heat packs over the affected area for immediate relief. Taking pain reliever such as “Ibuprofen” and “Acetaminophen” can also be another option when it comes to jaw pain.

If you have difficulty with quick relief assistance, you may also have gently massaged over your jaw to relieve the pain.

Don’t forget, stress can also worsen your jaw pain, thus apply a healthy lifestyle, practicing yoga and meditation is a great help for your jaw pain.

Professional diagnosis is imperative for knowing the cause of jaw pain. An ENT doctor or dentist can evaluate this condition by listening and feeling your jaw as you move your mouth, observing your mouth movements. They may also perform pressing the area around the jaw to ensure soreness or tenderness.

You may need to undergo a dental x-ray, if the underlying problem is a tooth abscess. In addition, to get a more complete picture of the joint, the doctor may also recommend MRI and CT Scan.

When your doctor suspects a TMJ disorder, they may ask you to undergo a TMJ arthroscopy. This procedure involves a small tube equipped with a camera, inserted into the joint space to get a better view of the affected area.

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How to Treat a TMJ Disorder

It is always a good idea to evaluate the TMJ joint, when you are diagnosed with TMJ disorders in the first place.

It is important to determine how severe TMJ dysfunction you might have, and do not wait until the pain is severe which could potentially interfere with your chewing function.

There are several treatments that you can take for TMJ disorders. Most of the time, it depends on the severity and causes behind it. While the most common treatments are;

  • When you intend to rest at night, wear an Occlusal device for overnight to help adjust the position of the jaw and prevent the upper and lower jaws from grinding one another.
  • The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants may help a lot in some cases.
  • Performing an “Arthrocentesis” process, this is a procedure in which a small needle is inserted into the joint to reduce inflammation and irrigate the joint.
  • Corticosteroid injections can reduce symptoms, inflammation and pain.
  • In case of the root cause is a bad bite, applying orthodontic treatment such as braces is the primary option to help readjust the alignment and reduce the pain.
  • You may need open joint surgery if the case is a joint structural problem.

No matter how severe the condition of your TMJ is, immediately choose one option of any treatments available to reduce the symptoms. Don’t put off the treatment until your condition is far more severe.

If your TMJ getting worse, you will also be at a greater risk such as gum disease, cavities, as a result of the difficulties you encounter when practicing oral hygiene when you have a lot of pain.

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