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Jaw Pain Causes

Jaw Pain Causes

Jaw pain is one of the common health problems which is found in people of all ages, however, aged people are most likely to experience it. Though this is a common problem, its causes are actually many and it may take some time to diagnose the main problem, if the condition is serious. This article provides some information about the causes of this condition.
Deepa Kartha
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2018
When one experiences pain in their jaws for sometime like two days or so and taking over-the-counter painkillers also does not given them anything more than a momentary relief, then it may be a cause of concern. In such conditions, it is necessary to go to the doctor, preferably a dentist as soon as possible who can try to understand the root cause of the problem. This pain can be caused due to various reasons. These causes can be divided into two types: primary and secondary. Primary cause is when the main problem lies in the jaw itself i.e. in the teeth, jaw muscles, ligaments, or in the joints. The secondary causes refer to root problems in some other part of the body.
Primary Causes
When an individual goes to the doctor for treatment, he/she will prescribe some painkillers to subside the pain. The dentist will check for primary causes and if he finds none, he/she will recommend the affected person to a specialist who can find out the exact cause.
  • One of the main causes of this problem is injury or inflammation on the joint of the jaw which is known as temporomandibular joint disorders. The jaw joints lie just in front of the ears, on both sides of the head where the upper and lower jaw come together. These joints with the help of muscles and ligaments surrounding it, make us unable to make movements with our mouth like talking, chewing, yawning, etc. When an injury occurs to these joints, one experiences pain in the jaw along with other symptoms like headache, earache, neck pain, etc.
  • Many times after lots of teeth are removed, there will be a difference in the way the teeth will meet while biting. This condition which is known as malocclusion is also one of the primary causes. Sometimes, dislocation of the joints caused by jaw injuries can give rise to pain, and the person may not even be able to open and close his mouth properly.
  • The appearance of bones or bony outgrowths around the jaws, especially on the joints, is said to be one of the reasons that can cause pain. Arthritis in the jaw is another important cause of pain, and is something that is commonly seen in old people.
  • Dental problems are one of the major primary causes of pain. People having toothache as well as cavities in their teeth may experience pain in their jaw. During stressful situations, people are very likely to clench the muscles of the mouth tightly, which can cause damage to the tissues of the muscles, subsequently leading to muscle pain. Even the habit of constant nail biting can cause pain.
  • Tetanus disease can also be one of the reasons for pain. Tetanus is a rare, but a severe disorder which is caused due to some kind of bacterial infection. The bacteria that causes tetanus spreads on the muscles of the jaw and the mouth, due to which they tighten. If this is not given immediate treatment, the condition of the person can become very severe as the mouth may get completely shut, because of which he/she may not be able to breathe.
  • Apart from these, people who have the habit of grinding their teeth may also experience aching jaw. Many people have a habit of grinding their teeth during the night and sometimes also during the day. Too much of grinding may cause extra pressure and stress on the muscles and joints of the jaw, thus leading to damage as well as pain in the jaw. Sudden injury to the jaw or even to the chin has the ability to cause severe pain.
Secondary Causes
The secondary causes are those that do not have any relation to the jaws, and are triggered due to problem in some other area of the body. In some of these cases, pain may appear as a symptom for the main problem. Migraine is one such disease where the person, along with a severe headache, may also experience pain in the joints. The main reason is said that when the individual has headache, he/she is likely to grind his teeth with force, giving rise to jaw pain. Even people who have sinus infection can experience this problem. Shingles, which is a viral infection, can cause pain to the jaw. Moreover, such pain can also be a symptom of an impending heart attack.
Looking at the above points, one must have surely realized that a simple jaw pain can have serious consequences. Therefore, the next time one experiences this condition, do not wait for it to subside on its own, instead visit the dentist immediately for the appropriate treatment which would relieve one from the excruciating pain.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.