5 Things That Cause Jaw Pain

by Power Road Dental Care

5 Things That Cause Jaw Pain

Reviewed By Dr. Tyler N Davis, DMD

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Jaw pain can be a real drag. It makes everything from smiling to chewing a nightmare, and the constant ache can leave you feeling frustrated and confused. But what if the cause of your discomfort isn’t what you think? 

Teeth grinding and tight jaw muscles are common causes; however, there are other surprising factors that can contribute to jaw pain.

In this first part of a two-part series, we’ll explore five causes of jaw pain that you might not have considered.

Key Takeaway

Jaw pain can arise from various factors, such as temporomandibular disorders, hidden dental issues, misaligned teeth, medical conditions, infections, and teeth grinding. Identifying these causes can help you relieve discomfort and maintain a pain-free smile.

1. Temporomandibular Disorders (TMJ/TMD)

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are the complex joints that connect your jaw to your skull. When these joints malfunction due to injury, arthritis, or other issues, you might experience pain, clicking, or popping sounds when moving your jaw. TMD (Temporomandibular dysfunction) can also cause chronic jaw pain, headaches, and even neck or shoulder pain.

2. Hidden Dental Issues

Jaw pain isn’t always caused by problems with the jaw itself. Dental issues like untreated cavities, gum disease, and even misaligned teeth can put stress on your jaw muscles and lead to pain.

3. Misaligned Teeth and Bite Issues

Misaligned teeth or bite issues can lead to jaw pain by putting extra stress on your jaw muscles and joints. Misalignment can cause uneven pressure distribution during chewing, leading to muscle tension and joint disorders. Over time, this can result in severe pain and discomfort.

4. Medical Conditions and Infections

Sinus infections and ear infections can cause jaw pain due to the proximity of the sinuses and the ears to the jaw. These infections can lead to inflammation and pressure that radiates to the jaw, causing persistent jaw pain.

Jaw pain can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious medical condition. In very rare cases, jaw pain can be a sign of a heart attack, so it’s important to be aware of all possibilities.

Remember: If you’re experiencing severe jaw pain along with other concerning symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness, seek immediate medical attention.

5. Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common cause of jaw pain. The constant clenching and grinding of teeth can put excessive strain on the jaw muscles and joints, leading to soreness and discomfort. Since it often occurs during sleep, sleep disorders like sleep apnea can worsen jaw pain.

3-Step Checklist to Assess Jaw Pain Severity

  1. Physical examination: Perform a physical exam to assess the range of motion and identify any swelling.
  2. Imaging tests: Consult a healthcare provider for imaging tests to determine the underlying causes.
  3. Medical attention: Seek immediate medical emergencies if your jaw pain is accompanied by severe chest pain or shortness of breath.

How to Relieve Jaw Pain at Home

Stay tuned for our next blog where we will explore various strategies for relieving jaw pain at home. You’ll learn effective treatment techniques, including relaxation techniques, muscle relaxants, medical treatments, and home therapies.

Your Next Step to a Pain-Free Smile

Jaw pain shouldn’t be a part of your daily life. It’s important to identify the root cause and seek treatment. If you’re experiencing persistent discomfort, it’s time to take action. Contact Power Road Dental Care in Mesa today. We’re more than just a dental office; we’re your partners in maintaining a healthy, happy smile.

If you are in the East Valley and are searching for a ‘dentist near me’ or a ‘dentist in Mesa, AZ,’ we can help. To book an appointment, call (480) 664-1438 or complete the online booking form.

Additional Resources

FAQs About Jaw Pain

Can cavities cause jaw pain?

Absolutely! An inflamed tooth can irritate the surrounding nerves, causing pain that radiates to the jaw.

Can wisdom teeth cause jaw pain?

Wisdom teeth, especially when impacted, can cause significant jaw pain. As these teeth try to emerge, they can push against other teeth, leading to misalignment and pressure on the jaw muscles and joints.

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