6 Unexpected Reasons for Jaw Pain
Jaw pain is a common type of pain that can be provoked by a wide range of things, including sinus pressure, cavity-related nerves, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). The jaw helps you chew, suck, and speak. Misalignment of the jaw can also lead to significant pain.
There are lots of treatment options that can help fight off jaw pain, most of which involve dental care. If you suddenly got jaw pain, your first step should be to visit your dentist to understand the root cause, which can include tooth grinding, sinus issues, or infections.
1. Gum disease
Periodontal disease or the infection of the tissues and bones surrounding and supporting your teeth is typically provoked by poor dental health habits or avoiding regular dental visits. More and more plaque starts to buildup on your teeth and gums.
Risk factors for gum disease include smoking, diabetes, and certain medications. If you have signs of gum disease such as bad breath, pain during chewing, sensitive teeth, receding gums, loose teeth, tender, red, bleeding, and swollen gums, it’s a good idea to visit a dental specialist.
2. Impacted wisdom teeth
Wisdom teeth that usually erupt between ages 17 and 25 can make trouble for your jaw, especially if they’re impacted. Fully or partially impacted wisdom teeth might become infected, and lead to acute pain and swelling in the surrounding tissues and gums.
Even after extraction, it can take some time for an infection to clear up and you might need to take antibiotics. In severe cases, you may need surgical draining of the site of infection.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMD or TMJ), affects the joints that connect your jawbone to the skull. TMD is one of the common reasons for jaw pain that’s accompanied by intense pain and restricted movement.
The symptoms of the condition can affect the quality of life significantly. People with TMD have pain and tenderness in the jaw joint area, the neck, the shoulders, the face, and the ear, as well as clicking sounds.
Doctors usually treat TMD with muscle relaxants, a mouth guard, and dental procedures to correct bite problems and balance biting surfaces. Patients can also try using home remedies like over-the-counter medications, heat or cold packs, and relaxation therapy to manage the pain.
4. Sinus pain
Health issues like sinus infections, allergies, and colds can provoke jaw pain. Treatment options depend on the severity of the condition but in most cases, taking medications is enough to solve the problem. In more severe cases, your doctor may suggest sinus surgery.
5. Untreated cavities
Many people think that cavities can provoke only tooth pain. But they can also lead to jaw pain. Regular visits to your dental specialist can help make sure cavities don’t go unnoticed and untreated.
6. Teeth grinding
Teeth grinding can wear down your teeth and contribute to jaw pain. Oftentimes, teeth grinding go undetected since it usually occurs while sleeping. Stress or anxiety are the most common triggers for teeth grinding. Severe cases can also lead to headaches and lead to TMJ disorders. You can try mouthguards or certain dental procedures to repair the damage.
The Bottom Line
All of these causes of jaw pain are treatable, but you still shouldn’t ignore the problem and talk to your healthcare provider about the pain. Your doctor will evaluate the intensity and type of your pain and will develop a proper treatment plan for you.