Surprising causes of jaw pain

Jaw pain is a very common complaint among adults. Statistically speaking it is common in adults aged between 20 years to 40 years and women seem to be more vulnerable to them as compared to men. Jaw pain can be very discomforting and cause severe pain in some people. It can also last for many years. Temporomandibular joint pain also known as TMJ pain is one of the primary causes of jaw pains. 

What is temporomandibular joint pain? 

The temporomandibular joint is what connects the jaw bones with the temporal bones of the skull. It is this joint that moves when we move our jaw up or down, left or right when we eat food, speak to people and yawn. The problems associated with the jaws and the muscles in that area are collectively called as temporomandibular disorders. TMJ  

Common symptoms of TMJ 

Common symptoms of TMJ are:

  1. Jaw pain 
  1. Locked jaw 
  1. Swelling in the jaw and cheeks 
  1. A clicking sound while opening and closing the jaw 
  1. Problem in opening the jaws as wide as one can 
  1. Trouble in chewing of food and changes in the bite due to upper and lower set of teeth not fitting together properly. 

Some other symptoms are headaches, toothaches, earaches, dizziness, pain in the neck and shoulder area and problem in hearing. 

Other causes of jaw pain 

TMJ is the most common reason behind jaw pain however there can be other causes of jaw pain besides TMJ disorder. Here are some of the surprising causes behind jaw pain – 

  1. Grinding of teeth – Teeth grinding can lead to jaw pain. Many people grind their teeth during sleep and hence are not even aware that they have a problem. There are many reasons behind people grinding their teeth for example anxiety, stress, misaligned teeth, due to some other medication or simply because of their genes.  A mouthguard can help people protect their teeth from the grind and thus help reduce the jaw pain too. 
  1. Impacted wisdom tooth – Wisdom teeth develop in late teens or early twenties. If however, there is not enough space available in the jaw for them to erupt they can become impacted. Such trapped wisdom teeth can lead to jaw pain. If you feel this may be the reason behind your jaw pain, make sure you consult your family dentist as soon as possible. They may remove the wisdom tooth to get rid of the pain. 
  1. Untreated cavities – When was the last time you visited the dentist for a full dental check-up?  If you don’t have a good oral hygiene routine or even if you do not go for regular dental cleanings at your dentist there is a good chance of the plaque on your teeth to harden into tartar and break down the enamel of your teeth causing a cavity. When the cavity reaches the lower level of dentin is when a person starts experiencing discomfort and the same can increase further if the cavity reaches the pulp of the tooth. This is when the pain starts radiating to the jaw. Your dentist can fix your cavity by a simple filling if it is small or by a root canal if it is severe. Once the cavity gets treated the jaw pain will disappear along with it. 
  1. Uneven bite – If you have an underbite, overbite or a cross bite due to misaligned teeth there is likely to be more wear and tear of the teeth resulting in pain in the jaw and surrounding muscles. An uneven bite can be easily fixed with braces in most cases. In severe cases the dentist may advise surgery as a solution. 
  1. Auto immune diseases – Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus etc. can cause jaw pain. 
  1. Sinus and ear infections – can cause not only sore jaws but also pain in the jaw. These are generally accompanied with nasal congestion, toothache etc. Read more about it in our blog Sinus or toothache. 
  1. Cluster headaches – can also result in jaw pain along with pain behind and around the eyes. 
  1. Osteonecrosis of the jaw – When the blood supply to the jawbone is disrupted due to some reason the bone begins to perish causing excessively severe jaw pain. Osteoporosis, trauma, and medications are some causes of osteonecrosis of the jaw.  
  1. Heart Attack – Jaw pain can be a sign of a heart attack. Surprised? This is accompanied with chest pain, profuse sweating, radiating pain in the arm and difficulty in breathing. This is an emergency and needs to be addressed as such. 
  1. Cancer – Oral cancer can also lead to jaw pain. It is important that you get regular dental checkups done for screening of oral cancer so that it can be detected early, and its progress arrested. Oral cancer if diagnosed early has high success of treatment. 
  1. Damage to the trigeminal nerve – The trigeminal nerve helps in the movement of the jaw and any pressure on this nerve can cause a very painful condition called trigeminal neuralgia. The pain in this is akin to an electric shock. This can be effectively managed with medications and surgery. 

We hope this blog was informative and useful. Please share it with your family and friends if you liked it. For any dental queries, you can always call Ensure Dental Care on 940-274-3229. You can also schedule an appointment with us. Ensure Dental Care offers emergency dental services. Regardless of your issue we offer same day emergency treatments. We entertain walk ins also. 

We are the family dentist near you. Ensure Dental Care is the one of the best family dental clinics at Saginaw Texas. We accept all major insurance providers. We also have in house payment plan. We have a very experienced and professional team of dental practitioners, and we look forward to serving you to the best of our abilities. 

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