Updated: Is That Jaw Pain Serious?

Jul 7, 2023

This post was originally written in November 2016, and updated in July 2023.

Experiencing jaw pain can be a worrisome symptom that many individuals encounter at some point in their lives. Ranging from mild discomfort to excruciating agony, it can make simple tasks like eating, speaking, or even smiling challenging. When faced with jaw pain, it is crucial to identify the cause and seek professional dental assistance promptly to prevent any further complications.

In this article, we will delve into the different types of jaw pain, their underlying causes, and potential treatments to help alleviate the discomfort and restore your oral health.

Types of Jaw Pain:

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jawbone to the skull, enabling the movement of your jaw up and down and side to side. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a prevalent condition that affects this joint, resulting in pain, swelling, clicking or popping sounds, and difficulties when opening or closing the mouth. Several factors can contribute to TMD, including jaw injury, teeth grinding or clenching, misaligned bite, stress, arthritis, or genetics.

Bruxism is a condition characterized by clenching or grinding your teeth, usually occurring at night. This habit places strain on your jaw muscles, leading to jaw pain, headaches, and tooth sensitivity. If left untreated, bruxism can escalate to TMD.

Dental Problems
Jaw pain can stem from various dental issues, such as cavities, gum disease, or wisdom teeth. Infections that spread to the jawbone can cause significant discomfort. In severe cases, dental problems can even lead to life-threatening abscesses if left untreated.

Trauma or Injury
Any trauma or injury to the jawbone, whether from a car accident or sports-related incident, can result in jaw pain. It is vital to seek immediate dental assistance if you experience severe pain or swelling, bleeding, or encounter difficulties while opening your mouth.

Possible Treatments:

The treatment for jaw pain varies depending on the cause and severity of the condition. Here are some potential treatments that can help alleviate jaw pain:

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can provide relief for mild to moderate jaw pain. In severe cases, prescription medications like muscle relaxants or antidepressants may be necessary.

Lifestyle Changes
Implementing lifestyle changes can make a difference in jaw pain caused by bruxism or TMD. Stress management techniques, relaxation exercises, and maintaining a healthy diet can all contribute to relief.

Dental Treatments
Various dental treatments can help alleviate jaw pain resulting from misaligned bites, teeth grinding or clenching, or dental problems. Orthodontics, dental splints or mouthguards, and, in certain cases, tooth extractions can be effective solutions.

In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to address jaw problems causing pain, such as TMJ disorders or injuries.

Jaw pain is a common condition that can be caused by a range of factors, including dental problems, injuries, or stress. If you are experiencing jaw pain, it is crucial to seek professional dental assistance to identify the cause and receive appropriate treatment. Ignoring jaw pain can lead to severe complications that impact your oral health and overall quality of life. By obtaining a proper diagnosis and undergoing suitable treatment, you can alleviate the discomfort and restore your oral health, enabling you to eat, speak, and smile with confidence.

DeJesus Dental Group is a family dental practice which sees patients of all ages at both their Bridgeport/Trumbull and Shelton dental offices. If you’re experiencing jaw pain and would like an appointment with one of our dentists, please book your appointment today.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Consult a qualified dental professional to determine the best dental/orthodontic treatment for your needs.