Five Causes of Jaw Pain

Jaw pain - woman experiencing jaw pain and holding ice bag to cheek.

Five Causes of Jaw Pain

The causes of jaw pain often prove elusive, despite how debilitating the condition itself can be. However, jaw pain is only a symptom of conditions that can prove quite serious if left undiagnosed and untreated. If you’ve experienced jaw pain recently, don’t ignore it—get help from Prescott Dentistry. We’re dedicated to uncovering the root cause of threats to your dental health. Our holistic dental specialists will investigate the issues that cause jaw pain and ensure your absolute comfort.

Five Common Causes of Jaw Pain

1. Tooth Pain and Dental Abscesses

When a tooth is severely decayed and has deep cavities, it can become filled with bacteria that cause an infection. Known as a tooth abscess or dental abscess, this infection fills the tooth with pus and causes swelling and tooth pain. Depending on the severity of the abscess, the swelling can radiate to the jaw, resulting in further pain when eating or speaking.

2. TMD Jaw Pain

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, as known as TMD or TMJD, affect the jaw’s hinge joints. Commonly caused by teeth grinding or physical trauma, TMD can cause tenderness at the joints and difficulty in moving them. It can also cause facial pain when attempting to speak or eat by inhibiting movement.

3. Sinus Problems and Jaw Pain

The sinuses are positioned very close to the jaw’s joints. When the sinuses become infected and produce excess mucus, this places additional pressure on the joints, resulting in pain. Once the infection passes, the pressure and pain are typically relieved, though frequent infections could cause potential damage.

4. Trigeminal Neuralgia

Next, trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that afflicts the nerves on either side of the face that carry sensations (including pain) to the brain. When these nerves get compressed, they trigger painful sensations in the upper and lower jaws. The causes for this condition are difficult to identify, but some of the most common reasons are swollen blood vessels, tumors that place pressure on the nerve, and multiple sclerosis, which damages the myelin sheath protecting the nerves.

5. Cluster Headaches

The pain of cluster headaches can radiate to the jaw from their focal point behind the eyes. Cluster headaches are severely painful headaches that occur in cyclical clusters, ranging from one every few days to several times a day. If you experience both conditions at the same time, they may be connected. If so, managing your headaches could help ease your jaw pain as well.

How Can I Prevent Jaw Pain?

Prevention and treatment options for jaw pain will vary based upon the cause. If the cause of your jaw pain is a dental abscess, then you will need to consider tooth repair or extraction. No matter what, the pus must be drained from the tooth, but the exact treatment needed will depend on the severity of the infection.

A root canal procedure can be used to remove the pus and infected pulp from an abscessed tooth, and a dental crown will strengthen and protect the tooth against further infection. If the damage is particularly extreme, however, you will most likely need a tooth extraction. Once the tooth and the pus are removed, you and your dentist can discuss tooth replacement options like implants and bridges.

TMDs, on the other hand, can be treated with short-term lifestyle changes, medications, and therapy. Eating softer foods and using ice to soothe the joint is generally effective. Beyond that, a doctor may prescribe muscle relaxers, corticosteroids, or local anesthetics. If these and other methods do not work to relieve the issue, then it may be necessary to undergo jaw surgery.

Seeking Treatment

When experiencing oral pain, it’s best to see a dental professional who can determine the cause and suggest appropriate treatment options. If you have jaw pain, there’s no need to suffer in silence. Prescott Dentistry’s holistic dental experts can help you find relief. Contact us today at 928-445-1660 to schedule an appointment so we can find the cause of your pain.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash