What A Sore Jaw REALLY Means

Jaw pain can be both severe and come out of the blue. The pain can be debilitating and lead you to have trouble eating, sleeping, and carrying on with normal daily activities.


While you may assume that jaw pain is directly caused by your teeth, the truth is that the pain can originate from a variety of issues that range from sinus infections to bad bites.


Jaw pain that comes on suddenly can be alarming and causes many people to automatically assume the worst. While in rare circumstances the jaw pain can be a result of something catastrophic like cancer, the most common causes are easily fixable if you seek care. Follow along as we outline common causes of jaw pain and how urgently you should seek care!
 What DIDN’T you know about the jaw?


Jaw injury


A jaw injury is one of the most frequent emergency calls we receive. Just like an arm or a leg, your jaw is a set of bones that can become fractured or broken due to blunt trauma. If a fracture or break occurs, there can be significant bruising and swelling combined with pain and difficulty opening the mouth. If a break is suspected, it’s important to seek care immediately. An x-ray will be taken and an assessment of the of your teeth will also take place. Doctors may be able to set the jaw right away—normally under anesthesia to control pain. However, in some circumstances surgery may be required to repair the damage.


Jaw joint pain


Another common cause of pain is when the temporomandibular joint, a joint that hinges your jaw to your skull, has developed an irregularity. Sometimes referred to as TMJ disorders, the exact cause of this pain is not always known. Some believe that the pain can be linked to genetic predispositions, while other experts think the pain is linked to a higher propensity to arthritis or other joint diseases.


Those who suffer from TMJ disorders identify pain under the jaw, or aching facial pain, and difficulty chewing. If symptoms persist it’s important to seek care to discuss your treatment options.


Other causes of jaw pain


There are numerous other causes of jaw pain that result from small issues like bad bites to more severe issues like teeth grinding. When you sleep, for example, you put a significant amount of pressure on your jaws. If your teeth are not aligned properly then the muscles surrounding the jaw can become inflamed and nonalignment can cause teeth to wear unevenly.


Bad alignment is also sometimes the result of teeth grinding. While teeth grinding is common in children, it can be bad for your teeth as an adult. Many patients grind their teeth in sleep unconsciously. High stress situations or when lifting heavy objects, patients also grind or over-clench their teeth. These things commonly lead to jaw pain, but the good news is they can be easily addressed by your dentist.


Another common cause of jaw pain is the result of an infection in your sinus cavity. The cause of the pain is due to the pressure from your sinuses being blocked, the swelling, or the infection moving to different areas. Ear infections can also cause jaw pain. The fluid from the ears can cause the inner ear to swell, which results in pressure being placed on the jaw.


Finally, an abscessed tooth can also lead to significant jaw pain. No matter where the tooth is located along the jaw line, it can cause a lot of pain. If you suspect this is the cause of your discomfort, it’s important to call us to have the situation addressed.


Jaw pain can be jarring and disruptive of your daily life, not to mention nerve wracking if you don’t know what’s causing it. If you are concerned about acute or lingering pain, it’s important to seek treatment and call Dr. Ku as soon as possible.

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