Why Does My Jaw Hurt: A Comprehensive Guide on Jaw Pain

Man with Jaw Pain

A Comprehensive Guide on Jaw Pain

Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

Many people wake up with jaw pain, experience jaw pain when eating, or feel pain in their jaw throughout the day. Peak Family Dental Care offers a comprehensive guide on jaw pain for Flagstaff, Cottonwood, and Sedona patients. One of the most common reasons for jaw pain is TMJ disorder affecting the temporomandibular joint. Our dental experts can help you treat TMJ disorders and other problems with your jaw. Our comprehensive guide on jaw pain includes the common causes of jaw pain, how to diagnose jaw pain, treatment options, and when you should consult a professional. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our dental team.

Understanding the Jaw Joint and Jaw Pain

The jaw joint, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ), is a complex structure that allows us to chew, talk, and yawn. When something goes wrong with your jaw joint, it can result in significant discomfort, particularly when eating. Jaw pain can be a symptom of various conditions. Understanding what might be causing your jaw pain is crucial to ensure you get the appropriate treatment. 

Common Causes of Pain in Jaw

The most common reason for jaw pain is Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD). TMD is a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles controlling jaw movement. It can result from genetics, arthritis, or jaw injury. Pain can orginate in your jaw muscles, jaw bones, or teeth. You may even notice it in the sinuses, ears, or heart. Pain is the body’s way of signaling that there is a problem. Our dental team will determine the cause of your jaw pain to help find the perfect treatment for it. Other common causes of jaw pain include the following: 

·      Sinus Problems –Your sinuses are located near the jaw joint, so an infection or inflammation can cause referred pain in the jaw.

·      Toothache –A toothache can cause radiating pain that you feel in your jaw. Tooth pain is often the result of tooth decay, abscess, or gum disease.

·      Arthritis –Arthritis in the TMJ can lead to jaw pain, difficulty chewing, and other symptoms.

·      Infection–Infections in the mouth, teeth, or jaw can cause significant pain in the jaw area.

·      Injury –Any injury to the face or jaw can result in jaw pain, which can persist or worsen over time.

Symptoms Associated with Jaw Pain

Pain is often the first symptom of a jaw-related issue. Peak Family Dental Care’s dental team seeks long-term, customized solutions for jaw pain. Dr. Bryan J. Shanahan is well-experienced in effective TMJ treatments. Some of the other common signs and symptoms of TMD can include the following: 

  • Pain in your ears
  • Pain when chewing
  • Popping or clicking sounds in your jaw
  • Difficulty opening your mouth wide
  • Swelling on one side of your face
  • Hearing issues
  • Dizziness
  • Locked jaw
  • Tenderness in your face or jaw
  • Headaches, neck pain, or facial pain

When to Consult Peak Family Dental Care

We understand jaw pain can be a scary situation. If you’re experiencing persistent jaw pain, particularly when eating, it’s vital to consult our dental team. We will conduct a thorough examination, which may include the use of imaging technologies, to determine the cause of your discomfort. Our dental team is committed to advancing our knowledge of jaw issues and providing innovative dental treatments to alleviate jaw pain. While most jaw pain problems are not an emergency, it’s important to contact us as soon as possible. Jaw pain can indicate significant oral health problems in some instances.

Diagnosing Jaw Pain at Peak Family Dental

At Peak Family Dental Care, we’re committed to understanding our patients’ concerns and providing the best possible care. Our approach to diagnosing jaw pain involves a detailed consultation, an extensive examination, and the potential use of advanced imaging technologies. We customize our dental treatments to meet your needs. Our office is equipped with unique laser dentistry and 3-D imaging. If your issues require significant dental work, we offer sedation dentistry treatments. When you’re in our dental chair, you have access to hot towels, neck pillows, and blankets. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible while we diagnose your jaw pain problem.

Why Does My Jaw Hurt on One Side? 

If your jaw only hurts on one side, you may not have TMD. One of the most common causes of jaw soreness on one side is sinusitis. When you have pressure and inflammation in your nasal cavities, it can cause one-sided jaw pain. Some patients have a cavity that is infected, leading to severe upper or lower jaw pain. If the condition is left untreated, it may spread to the jaw bone. Some of our patients experience cluster headaches that cause jaw pain on one side. They may begin in one eye and radiate down the jaw. We will find an effective treatment for any type of jaw pain.

Treatment Options for Jaw Pain at Our Clinic

Our customized jaw pain treatment is specific to your jaw ailment. Some of the most common treatment options for jaw pain include the following: 

  • TMJ Oral Appliance – We can fit your mouth with a special mouthguard to help manage your jaw pain that results from jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and TMJ.
  • Hot and Cold Packs – We recommend using a hot pack when there is no inflammation. Cold packs help minimize swelling and pain.
  • Massage – Gently massing your jaw helps relieve muscular tension. 
  • Physical Therapy – You can perform TMJ-specific physical therapy treatments, including stretches and exercises to promote faster healing and lower your pain.

What Should I Do About TMD?

The most significant issue with TMJ disorders is they are prone to arthritis. TMD is typically caused by excessive tooth grinding, so it’s often related to bad habits or stress. We can determine the cause of your TMD to help reduce your symptoms. We don’t recommend managing the disorder through only pain medication because the joint will become more painful over time. We recommend a mouthguard at night to help prevent extensive damage. We may recommend medication for some causes. Some dentists use Botox to help relax the jaw area. Your treatment will depend on the cause of your TMD.

Tips to Lower Jaw Pain

If everyday activities cause your jaw pain, we can help you lower the pain levels. Some of the best tips to help lower or alleviate your jaw pain include the following:

  • Apply moist heat to the painful area.
  • Avoid eating hard foods to give your jaw a rest.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication.
  • Catch yourself during the day if you clench your jaw or grind your teeth.

Contact Peak Family Dental Care for Jaw Pain

Persistent jaw pain is not something to ignore. Peak Family Dental Care is committed to helping our patients find relief from jaw discomfort. It’s vital to take action to ensure your jaw pain doesn’t escalate into a dental emergency. We can help you feel comfortable and calm while we determine the root cause of your jaw pain. Our team offers comprehensive dental services, including pediatric dentistrysleep apnea treatmentimplant-supported denturesperiodontal care, and more. We work tirelessly to address your dental needs. Schedule a consultation with us today, and let’s get to the root of your jaw pain together.