Jaw pain can be a crippling disorder that interferes with the ability to eat and talk. Jaw pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including your sinuses and ears, as well as your teeth or jaw itself. As a result, determining whether the jaw pain is due to a jaw problem or anything else can be complicated.


What causes jaw pain?

Jaw pain can be a crippling disorder that interferes with the ability to eat and talk. Jaw pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including your sinuses and ears, as well as your teeth or jaw itself. As a result, determining whether the jaw pain is due to a jaw problem or anything else can be complicated.


1. Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMD)

TMDs are the most common cause of jaw-pain, affecting nearly 10 million Americans. TMD is also sometimes known as TMJ. The temporomandibular joints are the hinge joints on each side of your jaw.

TMD jaw pain can be caused by a variety of factors. It is also possible to get TMD from several causes at the same time. TMD can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • muscle pain caused by the muscles that regulate jaw function
  • damage to the jaw joint
  • overstimulating the jaw joint
  • a displaced disk that normally aids in the cushioning of jaw movements
  • The protective disc that cushions the jaw joint is arthritic.
  • Damage to the jaw joint or the muscles that control your jaw movement can be caused by several factors, including:
  • grinding your teeth at night
  • involuntarily clenching your jaw due to stress and anxiety

There are also less common causes of jaw pain. These include:


2. Cluster headaches due to Jaw-Pain

Cluster headaches are usually characterized by pain behind or near one of the eyes, but the pain may also radiate to the mouth. These headaches are among the most agonizing forms of headaches.


3. Sinus problems due to Jaw-Pain

The sinuses are air-filled cavities near the jaw joint. If the sinuses become infected with a germ, such as a virus or a bacterium, an accumulation of mucus may form, putting pressure on the jaw joint and producing phlegm.


4. Tooth pain

Sometimes severe tooth infections known as dental abscesses can cause referred pain that radiates to the jaw.


5. Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a syndrome that is most frequently affected by nerve compression on the trigeminal nerve, which gives stimulus to the upper and lower jaws.


6. Heart attack

A heart attack can cause pain in places other than the abdomen, such as the limbs, spine, throat, and jaw. During an h, women in particular can feel jaw pain on the left side of their faces.

Taken to the hospital if you experience the following symptoms:

  • chest discomfort
  • shortness of breath
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • feeling faint

Jaw-pain relief

For immediate relief

Apply moist heat or ice packs: Wrap a thin cloth around a plastic bag of ice and add it to your face for 10 minutes. Then, wait 10 minutes before reapplying it. Another choice is to wet a washcloth and then add it to your jaw spot. To keep the heat going, you will need to re-wet the washcloth multiple times.

You can also purchase heat or ice packs at a pharmacy or online. If it feels too hot or too cold, remove it.

Over-the-counter pain relievers: Medicines like ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help to reduce discomfort.

Massage the affected joint: Push the sore areas of your jaw between your index and middle fingers, such as the area just above your ear where your jaw joints touch. Rub for 5 to 10 rotations in a circular motion, then open your mouth and repeat the exercise. Massage the muscles on the side of the neck to alleviate pain as well.


Lifestyle strategies to reduce jaw pain long-term

Stress reduction: Try stress-relieving techniques to reduce jaw clenching. These could include:

  • yoga
  • journaling
  • meditation

These activities may help you reduce jaw pain caused by stress.

Avoid chewy foods: 

  • apples
  • beef jerky
  • chewing gum
  • ice

Avoid caffeine: Caffeine will increase muscle stiffness, so your morning cup of joe might be adding to it. Avoiding significant quantities of caffeinated coffee and tea can help minimize your jaw pain over time, but you may experience muscle stiffness from caffeine withdrawal at first.


Medical treatment

For jaw pain, most physicians would first prescribe non-invasive treatment options. If you are still experiencing jaw pain after attempting these remedies, you can see your dentist. You can need additional interventions to find pain relief.

Mouthguard: A mouthguard is a custom-fitted silicone dental protector. While you can buy one at a store, a dentist will make one for you that will suit you better and last longer. Wearing one before going to bed will help prevent you from unintentionally grinding your teeth.

Muscle relaxers: If the mouth guard does not alleviate your jaw pain, your dentist can prescribe muscle relaxers to relieve jaw tension. These, though, may not necessarily support people with TMD.

Botox injections: Botox cosmetic injections are a more invasive treatment process. The botulinum toxin used in Botox, when injected into the jaw muscles, can prevent your jaw muscles from clenching, potentially helping to alleviate jaw pain caused by TMD. These treatments can last for months and will need to be re-injected later.

Jaw surgery: In very unlikely cases, a doctor will prescribe jaw surgery to correct TMD issues. This is typically intended for patients suffering from chronic pain or pain that is caused by neurological defects in the jaw joint.

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