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9 Possible Reasons Why Your Jaw Hurts

Pain of any sort is usually an indicator that something is wrong. One area of concern is your jaw. If you’re experiencing pain in your jaw, it can be due to a number of reasons, one of which requires attention from a dental professional for relief. At Divine Smiles, we want our patients to live pain-free lives with our help. Learn some of the possible reasons why your jaw hurts and then schedule an appointment with our TMJ dentist in Woburn and Winchester to finally achieve the relief you deserve.

woman sitting on her couch with jaw pain

1. Trauma

Trauma like a hard hit to your jaw can definitely cause you jaw pain. In this circumstance, you will likely know that trauma is the cause of your pain. With trauma to the jaw, it’s possible to experience bruising, swelling, loose or knocked-out teeth, and pain. If your pain won’t subside, you can’t open or close your mouth, or you suspect something is broken, it’s essential to visit a doctor for assistance. Once your trauma heals, your jaw pain should subside.

2. Dental Problems

Another potential cause of jaw pain is untreated dental problems. A number of dental problems can lead to jaw pain such as toothaches from cavities or abscesses, cracked, crowded teeth, teeth that experience sensitivity due to temperature changes, wisdom teeth growing in, misaligned teeth, gum disease, and clenching or grinding your teeth. Visiting your dentist for cleanings and checkups every six months is a good way to identify and treat these problems before they start causing you problems such as jaw pain. If you’re overdue for a dental cleaning, please contact our dental office at (781) 396-8558 to book your next appointment today.

3. Arthritis

Another cause of jaw pain is arthritis in the jaw, specifically rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to mistakenly attack healthy tissue in the body which causes it to swell up. As a result, it can damage the cartilage that helps your jaw move in a smooth motion and make it feel sore and stiff instead.

4. Heart Attack

Most people don’t associate a heart attack with jaw pain. It’s usually associated with chest pain. However, heart attacks can cause jaw pain but as referred pain. Referred pain is pain felt in the body in a different location than the source. Some people only experience jaw pain as their only symptom of a heart attack. If you experience sudden jaw pain, it might be worth it to call a doctor to play it safe.

5. Sinus Problems

Your sinuses are located under your eyes and when you experience inflammation longer than three months it can cause a condition known as chronic sinusitis. The condition can make breathing difficult and also tenderness and pain in the upper jaw. If you’re having difficulty breathing, you might need to visit an ENT specialist to achieve jaw pain relief.

6. Tumor or Cyst

Growths in the soft tissues of your face or jawbone such as cysts or tumors can grow fast and affect your teeth. Most people who experience these odontogenic tumors or cysts require surgery for removal and to find relief.

7. Cluster Headaches

These painful headaches usually happen over a short span of time and can cause severe pain on one side of the head. Cluster headaches usually affect the eyes and temple but can also cause jaw pain.

8. Diseases

Although vaccines can prevent these diseases, some people still experience them and one of the symptoms is jaw pain. Mumps is a virus that causes the glands of the sides of your mouth to swell which can prevent you from being able to move your jaw and will cause jaw pain. Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by a scratch or a cut on your skin. It can cause your jaw muscles to feel stiff or tight or lockjaw. The serious condition can put you in the hospital for weeks.

9. TMJ

The most common reason for jaw pain is a TMJ disorder. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) affects nearly 1 in 8 people and is most common in women. TMJ disorders happen as a result of problems with the temporomandibular joint. This joint works as a hinge that allows your jaw to move up and down and side to side. When it has an imbalance, damage, or misaligned, it can lead to serious jaw pain, face pain, neck pain, headaches, migraines, clogged ears, tinnitus, and other symptoms. The reason patients commonly experience jaw pain with TMJ is that the condition causes the muscles adjacent to the jaw to become strained and sore. These muscles run through your entire face, jaw, and even down your neck. As a result, you can experience not only jaw pain but pain in other areas of your body.

TMJ treatment is the only way to reduce or eliminate your pain. Fortunately, Dr. Clancy at Divine Smiles can create a customized TMJ treatment plan at our Woburn and Winchester dental office. Schedule an appointment with our TMJ dentist today to finally achieve the jaw pain relief you deserve. Please call (781) 396-8558 to book an appointment.

By Dr. Ryan Clancy | January 6th, 2021 | TMJ |

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