Six Causes of Jaw Pain

woman with jaw pain

The jawbone, also known as a mandible, is one of the most complex parts of your body. It is connected to your skull by the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), which allow you to open and close your mouth.  About 10 million people in America alone suffer from jaw pain, and it often affects their ability to eat, talk, and sleep.

Causes of jaw discomfort range from a common toothache to a heart attack. It can be difficult to determine the cause of your pain on your own, so a visit to your dentist or orthodontist should be a priority. Dr. Timothy Mickiewicz in Sacramento, CA, can help determine what is causing your pain and help relieve it. Contact our office today at 916-469-9178 to schedule an appointment.

Here are six conditions that might be causing your jaw pain:

1. TMD

Temporomandibular joint disorder is the most common cause of jaw pain. Arthritis, bruxism, malocclusion of the teeth or jaw, and stress often contribute to this disorder. Symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain or soreness in the jaw or TMJs
  • Throbbing pain in and around the ear
  • Trouble chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint

You should get treatment for your TMJ disorder is you are experiencing any type of pain or limitation of movement in your jaw. Schedule a visit with Dr. Mick –  dubbed “The Face of TMJ Therapy” by Sacramento Magazine –  to see if BOTOX injections can help diminish your symptoms.

2. Physical Trauma

A baseball injury, car accident, or simply opening your mouth too wide can cause immense pain and even dislocate your jaw. If this is the case, pain, swelling, and bruises may be present. Sometimes, over-the-counter medicines can relieve your pain and swelling. However, if your pain persists or the jaw is dislocated, you should seek medical care.

3. Dental Health Issues

These dental problems often induce jaw pain:

  • Tooth decay: A cavity that has not been treated can cause pain to radiate through your jaw.
  • Cracked, crowded, or sensitive teeth: Damaged teeth can lead to jaw pain. The pain is usually most apparent when these teeth are exposed to hot or cold temperatures or any kind of pressure.
  • Gum disease: Also known as periodontal disease, this can damage your jawbone and cause immense pain.

4. Joint Problems

Rheumatoid arthritis commonly attacks the temporomandibular joints. This makes the joints swell up and causes damage to the cartilage in your jaw. If your jaw is feeling stiff and sore, this could be the reason.

5. Heart Attack

Sometimes, pain from one area of your body is transferred to another. Referred pain in the jaw happens to some people before a heart attack and is often the only symptom they remember.

6. Diseases

Although uncommon because of vaccines, mumps and tetanus are still around, and jaw pain is typically one of the first symptoms.

The mumps virus swells the saliva-producing glands on either side of your mouth and make it difficult to move your jaw.

Tetanus is a bacterial infection contracted by a cut or scratch on the skin. Lockjaw – which is characterized by tightened or stiffened jaw muscles and spasms –is one of the first signs.

Visit Your Sacramento Dentist Today

Jaw pain is a serious condition that should be treated in a timely manner. Dr. Mick will examine your mouth and jaw to find the root of the problem. Once he determines the issue, he will create a comprehensive plan to treat your discomfort and prevent other issues from occurring. Schedule a consultation with our friendly staff today at 916-469-9178.

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