Uncommon Causes of Jaw Pain

As many of our patients can attest to, there is little that causes more discomfort that jaw pain. There are many causes for jaw pain, ranging from trauma to a heart attack. The problems associated with the teeth and jaw structure can often be treated by an oral surgeon or dentist, giving you quick relief.

The purpose of this article is to help you understand when dental conditions may contribute to jaw pain, give you suggestions that may help you to treat your discomfort at home, and help you determine when you should call us to seek treatment.

Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorder (TMD)

TMD is the most common cause of jaw discomfort, affecting nearly ten million Americans. TMD is also known as TMJ. The temporomandibular joints are hinge joints that are on each side of your jaw.

Several factors can cause TMD jaw pain. These can happen by themselves or concurrently with other causes. Factors include:

  • Injury to the joint of the jaw
  • Muscular soreness from excessive movement or chewing something hard
  • A displaced disc that provides a cushion
  • Damage from trauma to the jaw joint or jaw muscles
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Clenching your jaw during times of anxiety or stress
  • Cavities
  • Growth of wisdom teeth
  • An abscessed tooth
  • Gum disease or tooth decay
  • Misaligned or missing teeth

If dental problems are to blame, you will likely have other symptoms, such as:

  • Lingering tooth pain
  • Tooth pain that comes and goes
  • Painful, bleeding gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Bad breath or dry mouth
  • Sores inside your mouth
  • Pain when swallowing or chewing

Fever and facial swelling, along with acute tooth pain, may indicate an abscess. Call your oral surgeon right away for these symptoms, especially if swallowing and breathing become difficult.

For Immediate Relief

Apply an ice pack on the painful area for ten minutes, having a thin cloth between your skin and the cold compress. Repeat the process with ten-minute intervals. Another option is moist heat. Apply a warm wet rag on the jaw area to relax any overactive jaw muscles to relieve pain. A microwave can reheat a moist cloth in seconds, and many of our patients find this relieves their discomfort.

Until you can see a dentist or oral surgeon, over-the-counter pain relievers work fine. You can use ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce discomfort.

Finding Out What’s Wrong

Because most jaw pain results from dental issues, a jaw abnormality, or jaw trauma, it’s best to check with a qualified oral surgeon to find out what is the cause. They are trained to address such issues while delivering effective results and relieving any discomfort instantly. Hill County Oral Surgery provides superior health care for the Austin area and communities nearby.

Call 512-327-7233 or schedule your consultation with our maxillofacial specialists in Austin, Tx today!