Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

jaw



Pain in the jaw can be quite uncomfortable and can start off mild at first and become more intense over time. This condition is a common problem that affects millions of people each year. Treating it is challenging since there are so many potential causes. Symptoms of jaw pain do vary depending on the root cause. The first step to treat this condition is by identifying the underlying issue. You should never ignore it since it can be a sign of something common as a toothache or a serious condition like a heart attack.

Causes To Look Out For

  • Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is the process of clenching teeth which is not associated with chewing. Some people grind their teeth while sleeping and they are not aware of it, while others grind their teeth when they feel stressed. If left untreated, teeth grinding can cause a number of dental issues that lead to damaged teeth, eventually causing jaw pain as well. People who grind their teeth while they sleep can wear a mouth guard to stop grinding.

  • TMJ Disorders

The Temporo Mandibular Joint connects the lower jaw with the skull and allows proper jaw movement while closing and opening one’s mouth. According to research, TMJ disorder affects about 1 in 8 people and it is more common in women than men. This condition can be caused by an injury or an illness such arthritis. Stress is also known to cause TMJ disorder. This condition is the most common cause for this condition.

  • Dental Conditions

Dental conditions such as abscess, cavities, tooth gaps or gum disease can cause jaw pain. Such conditions do not affect the jaw area directly, however, the pain can radiate in the jaws. Visiting the dentist regularly and practicing good oral health can reduce the risk of developing such conditions. 

  • Osteomyelitis

This condition causes an infection in the body which affects the bones and associated tissues.

Symptoms of Jaw Pain

As mentioned earlier, symptoms of jaw pain do vary depending on the cause. Some common symptoms include:

  • Facial swelling
  • Fever
  • Tension headaches
  • Toothache
  • Vertigo
  • Dull aching to sharp stabbing pain
  • Jaw locking
  • Dizziness
  • Pressure behind the eyes and headaches with or without ear pain
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Popping or clicking sounds with opening or closing of the jaw
  • Jaw alignment issues
  • Limited range of motion
  • Facial pain that worsens when the jaw is used

Treatment

Treatment of jaw pain is administered depending on what the cause is. There are various treatment methods and may include the following:

  • TMJ treatment
  • Antibiotics if the pain is caused by infection
  • Use of correct posture to avoid back and neck strain
  • Avoid hard foods to prevent excessive crunching and jaw movement
  • Injections with local anesthetics
  • Teeth extraction is the cause is from infected or abnormal teeth
  • Pain medication
  • Root canal treatment to treat infections within teeth
  • Anxiety or depression medications to prevent teeth grinding
  • Steroid injections to decrease swelling or inflammation
  • Physical therapy
  • Mouth guards to act as a mouth protector
  • Surgery to treat affected nerves, diagnose a problem or remove damaged bone
  • Use antibiotics to treat infections
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