Is Jaw Pain Something to Worry About?
It’s frustrating to experience pain while doing simple things such as drinking, eating, and laughing. It can affect your diet, lifestyle habits, and quality of life. Any pain in your body, including your jaw, should never be ignored. Your doctor or dentist can help relieve jaw pain and address the underlying problem. Below, we’ve identified the main causes of jaw pain and what you should do about it.
What Causes Jaw Pain?
Numerous issues can cause jaw pain, including:
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
TMJ disorders affect the joints that connect the skull and jaw. If the joint is damaged or the disc that separates the bones in the joint becomes misaligned, you’re likely to experience pain and other symptoms in your jaw. Common signs you might have TMJ include:
- Jaw pain
- Tender jaw
- Pain, popping, clicking when chewing or opening the mouth
- Difficulty opening or closing your mouth
If you have these symptoms, seek TMJ treatment near you. Our TMJ specialist near you can also help you determine the underlying cause and how to address it. Commonly, TMJ disorders lead to tissue damage, arthritis, bruxism, jaw infection or injury, tooth misalignments, and damage to the cartilage in the jaw joint.
Inflammation in the nasal cavities can happen due to numerous factors. If your maxillary sinuses are inflamed, you can experience jaw pain. While sinusitis can clear on its own, it’s essential to check in with your doctor if symptoms persist. Other signs you might have sinusitis include:
- Nasal congestion that causes breathing difficulties
- Green or yellow mucus that drains from the nose or into the throat
- Facial pressure, pain, and swelling
- Difficulty tasting or smelling
- Pain and pressure in the head and ears
- Dental Damage
Jaw pain is commonly associated with dental issues such as cavities, an abscessed tooth, impacted wisdom tooth, tooth decay, gum disease, missing teeth, crooked teeth, and bruxism. Apart from jaw pain, other signs that you have dental issues include:
- Teeth and gum sensitivity
- Tooth pain that comes and goes
- Painful, tender, and bleeding gums
- Sores in your mouth
- Bad breath
- Persistent dry mouth
- Pain when swallowing or chewing
- Fever accompanied by severe toothaches
- Facial swelling
If you have these symptoms, contact your dentist right away for diagnosis and treatment.
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
Though rare, trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic condition that results from abnormal pressure on the trigeminal nerve. This abnormal pressure can cause nerve malfunctioning, leading to severe pain in your jaw or face. This condition is common among people 50 years and older.
Mainly, you may feel pain when you touch your face or move your facial muscles. While the pain can be relieved with over-the-counter medications, it’s best to consult your doctor or dentist for professional advice.
While rare, osteomyelitis is a severe type of bone infection. It develops when harmful bacteria enter the jawbone. After oral surgery, serious dental injury, or severe tooth decay, the infection can happen. If the condition is untreated, it can lead to bone death and other serious complications. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you have:
- Numbness in your lips, mouth, and jaw
- Worsening jaw pain
- A fever
- Tenderness or swelling in the jaw or teeth
- Bad breath
- Redness at a painful area
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
- Cysts and Tumors
If you notice tumors or cysts (masses of tissue or cysts), you must call your healthcare provider immediately. They can cause jaw pain and affect your overall health. If left untreated, they can cause teeth misalignments, tooth loss, and bone damage. Odontoma, dentigerous cysts, and ameloblastoma are the most common tumors and cysts that affect your mouth. Along with jaw pain, you can experience:
- Open or bleeding sores
- Difficulty swallowing or moving your jaw
- A growth or pump you can feel
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- Lingering soreness or hoarse feeling in the throat
- Facial or jaw swelling
- Tissue growth around teeth
Is a Sore Jaw a Symptom of Anything?
Typically, jaw pain may be severe but sometimes not. Still, any pain is abnormal, and it’s essential to seek treatment promptly when treatment is likely to be successful and easy. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience jaw pain along with:
- Recurring chest pain, tightness, pressure, and difficulty breathing could signify a heart attack.
- Trouble eating, drinking, breathing, or swallowing
- A fever and severe swelling that doesn’t go away
- Severe pain that makes it difficult to move your mouth
Schedule an Appointment Today
For more information about jaw pain and TMJ treatment in Citrus Heights, contact Sacramento Natural Dentistry.