What Are Some Common Causes of Jaw Pain?

If you have chronic or severe jaw pain, and haven’t recently sustained an injury to the area, then it might be caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) causes pain and tenderness at the jaw joints. You have two jaw joints, located on either side of your head underneath your ears. Aside from TMD, other possible causes of jaw pain include bruxism and oral abscesses.

TMD

To find out if your jaw pain is really caused by TMD, your dentist may ask you some questions about your other symptoms. In addition to jaw pain and tenderness, TMD can cause the following:

  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty opening the mouth
  • Difficulty biting and chewing
  • Aching facial pain

The muscle tension and pain of TMD can spread to other areas as well. Some people with severe TMD may experience the following:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Earaches
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Muscle spasms

If left untreated, TMD may even affect the way the upper and lower teeth fit together.

Bruxism

Another possible cause of jaw pain is bruxism. Bruxism is another word for teeth grinding. Many people habitually grind their teeth together without realizing it. This might happen during the day or during sleep. Severe bruxism may lead to temporomandibular joint disorder. It can also cause the following complications:

  • Tension headaches
  • Damage to the teeth or dental crowns
  • Severe facial pain

If you have bruxism, your dentist might recommend wearing a mouthguard.

Oral Abscess

An abscess is a sealed off collection of pus. It’s caused by a bacterial infection. An abscess may form in your mouth, causing symptoms like:

  • Jaw pain
  • Facial swelling
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Throbbing toothache

Oral abscesses won’t go away by themselves. And it’s possible for the infection to spread and lead to life-threatening complications. If you suspect you might have a tooth abscess, you’ll need dental care right away.

You shouldn’t have to suffer from acute or chronic jaw pain. Call the office of John Carson, DDS at (520) 514-7203, and request an appointment at the Tucson location.

 

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