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What Jaw Pain Means: What Causes It and How to Treat It


By 2 Min Read

Posted Aug 6th, 2021 in Dental Appliances, Diagnostics, General Dentistry Services, News, Patient Care / Support, Restorative, Technology

What Jaw Pain Means: What Causes It and How to Treat It

Jaw pain may indicate a dental issue like toothaches, TMJ Disorder or something more serious. Here, we explain the possible causes of jaw pain and what you can do to treat it. 

What causes jaw pain?

Jaw pain may be a sign of dental issues like toothaches, TMD or something even more serious. Here, we explain some of the possible causes of jaw pain and what you should do if you are experiencing it. 

TMJ Disorders

One of the most common causes of jaw pain is TMJ Disorder, or TMD. The temporomandibular joint connects your temporal bones to your jaw and plays an important role in your life, allowing you to speak, breathe and eat. 

TMD occurs when there is an issue with your jaw or facial muscles. If the disorder advances to a severe state after you begin to experience pain in the joint, you may even be unable to move it. 

Causes of TMJ Disorders can include:

  • Conditions like arthritis
  • Inflammation in the jaw muscles
  • Misalignment of the jaw
  • Injury to the jaw

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder may include:

  • Pain or ache in your jaw, face or ears
  • Constant headaches
  • Locking or popping in your jaw
  • Dizziness
  • Vision problems
  • Ringing in ears

If your suspect that you are experiencing a problem with your TMJ, contact a dentist for treatments or exercises. Sometimes medications or surgery may also be required. 


Although vaccines administered in early childhood have gotten rid of certain diseases, there are still some that may cause jaw pain and other symptoms.


Like other bones in your body, your jaw can be dislocated or fractured. After taking a blow to the jaw, you may experience:

  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Bruises
  • Pain
  • Swelling

Depending on your injury, you may need to see your dentist if the pain doesn't dissipate, if you are missing teeth or if you can't open your mouth properly. 

Dental Issues

A variety of dental issues can lead to a sore jaw. These can include:

  • Toothache (often with an abscess as the cause)
  • Fractured or crowded teeth
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Teeth grinding
  • Gum disease
  • Wisdom teeth erupting

These issues should be addressed promptly and many are dental emergencies. If you experience any of the above issues, contact your dentist as soon as possible. 

How can I get rid of jaw pain?

At-Home Care

  • Avoid caffeine since it can contribute to msucoe tension
  • Apply a warm, wet washcloth or ice pack covered in cloth to your jaw in 10-minute intervals
  • Take relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
  • Massage the joint using your fingers, pressing the sore areas of your jaw and moving to the side of your neck.

Dental Care

If your jaw pain isn't alleviated by at-home remedies, contact a dentist.

A dentist will be able to assess your symptoms, examine your smile and explain possible treatment options. Treatments may include a mouthguard or more invasive treatments. 

In rare cases, oral surgery may be recommended for treating TMD in order to treat patients that suffer from severe pain and structural issues. 

Are you looking for more information on how to alleviate your jaw pain?

A dentist will be able to answer any of your questions and recommend an appropriate treatment option.

Find a dentist who can help.

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