What’s causing my jaw pain?

By May 6, 2020 May 13th, 2020 TMJ Disorder
man with jaw pain

Jaw pain can be described in several ways: sharp, throbbing, intense, tingling, or burning. Regardless of the feeling, the source of the pain could be caused by a number of issues. Rather than treating the pain with pain medication, it’s important to identify the underlying issue.

The jawbone is one of the most complex parts of the body, but it’s also one of the most important simply because it allows us to open and close our mouths. When the mandible doesn’t work properly it impairs a person’s ability to eat, talk, laugh, and even sleep.

Here are six conditions that can lead to jaw pain:

1. Physical trauma

One of the most obvious reasons for jaw pain is physical trauma. This could be due to a car accident, sports injury, or even overextending the jaw. In these cases, the root of the issue is well-known and there are physical usually physical signs such as bruising and swelling.

In some cases, pain medication could be sufficient to relieve the pain and swelling, but if the pain persists or if the jaw is dislocated, dental care is necessary.

2. Oral health problems

The oral health issues could incite jaw pain:

  • Sensitive, crowded, or cracked teeth: Hot and cold temperatures and pressure from biting or chewing on damaged teeth could induce pain in the jaw.
  • Dental decay: An untreated cavity can cause pain to radiate pain to the jaw.
  • Periodontal disease: As periodontal disease progresses, the infection and inflammation can spread to other parts of the face and body, including the jaw.

3. TMJ disorder

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder is most often characterized by jaw pain. Other symptoms of TMJ Disorder include:

  • Clicking or popping when opening and closing the mouth
  • Pain in the ears and face
  • Frequent headaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness

Patients who suspect they have TMJ disorder should seek the help of an experienced dental professional as soon as possible.

4. Joint problems

The jawbone is connected to the skull by the temporomandibular joints which enable the jaw to open and close. Rheumatoid arthritis can attack these joints and lead to swelling and stiffness.

5. Heart attack

As strange as it sounds, jaw pain can be a sign of a heart attack. This sometimes occurs because the heart doesn’t actually have pain receptors so the pain transfers to other places. In many cases, that pain is sent down the left arm, but jaw pain is also extremely common.

6. Disease

Though these diseases are uncommon because of vaccines, some people still develop mumps and tetanus. Jaw pain is one of the first symptoms of each of these diseases.

With the mumps, inflammation occurs in the saliva-producing glands on both sides of the mouth which makes it difficult to move the jaw.

Tetanus begins with a cut or scratch on the skin, but lockjaw— spasms and the tightening and stiffening of jaw muscles—is one of the first symptoms.

Contact Our Sacramento Dentist Today

Jaw pain is often a symptom of a much more serious issue. When you visit a dentist, he or she can examine your jaw and mouth to determine exactly what is causing the pain.

Be sure to choose a dentist with advanced knowledge and experience in treating jaw pain. Our Sacramento dentist, Dr. Timothy Mickiewicz, is passionate about helping people live a pain-free life through alternative treatments. Call our office today at (916) 469-9178 to schedule an initial consultation.