Why Does My Jaw Hurt? 9 Underlying Causes And How To Treat Jaw Pain


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Publish date

July 28, 2021



“Why does my jaw hurt?” The first thing you need to do is to find out the underlying causes. For some, oral infection is present, so finding the right treatments using the medical machinery needed becomes a top priority. Meanwhile, some specialists recommend post-treatment procedures, like physical therapy, to address any lingering health or functional issue. If you happen to experience the same condition, you might also want to read this article.


Jaw Pain

Generally speaking, any of us can experience jaw pain. In some cases, the pain is also radiating to other parts of the head. We are not fully aware of the issues that cause pain to our jaws. For this reason, we tend to get confused as to whom we should seek medical help.

Meanwhile, jaw pain can affect our oral activities, such as eating or speaking. If we do not get the appropriate nutrients our body needs, our health could be at risk. As a result, we can develop other health diseases.

We often take our jaw for granted and uses it until it hurts. The pain can occur either on one side of your jaw or both. Given this point, what could be the causes of jaw pain that we have to address immediately? Let’s find out what they are.


Common Causes of Jaw Pain

Every person has a unique condition when it comes to experiencing pain. The pain in your jaw may have a different underlying cause as compared to another. By all means, here are a few of the potential causes of jaw pain.

  1. Teeth problems: First, there could be an issue with your teeth. Your teeth may have cavities, infection, or probably a gum disease. These conditions are the primary causes of why you could be experiencing pain in your teeth, gums, or jaw.
  2. Stress: Some people tend to do teeth grinding when stressed out over something. Clenching or grinding can take place either during the daytime or at night when they sleep. As a result, the quality of sleep they get is low. Furthermore, it can also affect the sleep of the person beside them.
  3. Sinusitis: Sinusitis or sinus infections are also potential causes of jaw pain. However, jaw pain is a rare symptom of sinusitis. When the sinuses start to swell, the pressure will increase and can cause pain.
  4. Arthritis: Arthritis can also attack the jaw joint. When that happens, it creates a grating noise. It only signifies that the surfaces already wear down and the friction between bones increased.
  5. Nerve condition: They call this condition trigeminal neuralgia. It causes extreme pain on one side of the jaw or lower face. Moreover, the pain can worsen over time.
  6. Severe headache: There is always an underlying cause of why we experience headaches. For example, you have migraine headaches. This condition can also increase the risk of experiencing jaw pain.
  7. Bone infection: It is a rare condition but still possible to occur to a person. Certain conditions can affect the function of the immune system. In this case, there is a higher risk of developing osteomyelitis.
  8. Growth: A tumor or cyst can grow, leading to discomfort and swelling in your jaw. Even though these growths are noncancerous, they can still invade your jawbone and displace your teeth. It also increases the pressure in your mouth and jaw.


TMJ Disorders

Why does my jaw hurt? A TMJ disorder could a potential cause.A TMJ disorder is the last potential cause of jaw and facial pain. It involves a dysfunction with the temporomandibular joint. Moreover, the TMJ is one of the most complex joints in the body. These joints allow us to move our jaw up and down, sidewards, or front and back.

If a person suffers from TMJ disorders, they are most likely to have problems with their temporomandibular joint or jaw muscles. However, doctors often find it challenging to diagnose TMJ dysfunction (TMD).

Additionally, TMD has three classifications: myofascial pain, internal derangement of joints, and degenerative joint disease. Unfortunately, a person can have one or more of these conditions simultaneously.


Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

The following symptoms can help you determine if you have a TMJ disorder.

  • Jaw discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Radiating pain in the head, behind the eyes, face, shoulder, neck, or back
  • Ear pain
  • Clicking or popping sounds
  • Jaw lock
  • Limited jaw movements
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Teeth misalignment
  • Pain when chewing
  • Swelling or inflammation

The symptoms may vary from one person or another. The best thing we can do about this is receiving a diagnosis from a dentist or a TMJ specialist right away. This way, they can prepare a dental treatment plan for our condition.


Treatment Options for TMJ

Your dentist or the TMJ specialist might consider various treatment options in your treatment plan during your dental appointment. Meanwhile, patients can try any of the following.

1 Home Remedies

The first thing that comes to mind is applying home remedies to relieve discomfort. The most common is using a cold compress to numb the pain. However, patients should still pursue their dental appointment.

2 Physical Therapy

A woman having her physical therapy to address TMJ disorder.The physical therapist will help restore the jaw’s normal function. In this case, the treatment a therapist will apply depends on your dental condition. It could be posture education, jaw motion improvement, special pain treatment, or a dental referral.

3 Surgery

This option will be the last resort of a doctor. It only means your TMJ condition did not improve using the other methods.

4 Other Available Options

  • Rest
  • Medicine or pain relievers
  • Stress management and relaxation
  • Behavioral adjustments
  • Dietary changes
  • Oral appliances


The Pain in Your Jaw

It would be best not to neglect your jaw pain. Sooner or later, it can become severe and affect more oral functions. Just to be sure, you can book an appointment here and let a dentist check your condition. You are free to call their office to secure a dental consultation.

Additionally, it would be best for a patient to contact a doctor or a dental professional right away before the condition worsens and affects their life quality. Dental health is essential to maintain excellent overall health.



Here’s Why Your Jaw Constantly Hurts, According to an Orofacial Pain Specialist, Lauren Krouse, January 17, 2021, https://www.prevention.com/health/a35237134/why-does-my-jaw-hurt/

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD), Hopkinsmeicine.org, Accessed July 23, 2021, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/temporomandibular-disorder-tmd

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