- TMJ disorders, bruxism, dental issues, trigeminal neuralgia, and sinus infections cause jaw pain.
- Treatment options include medications, therapy, surgery, mouthguards, fillings, root canal treatment, extraction, and more.
- Replacing missing teeth with dental implants can help alleviate pain and improve chewing.
- Regular check-ups at the dentist and wearing a mouthguard while sleeping can help prevent jaw pain from arising in the first place.
- Applying heat or ice packs to the area and practicing good posture can also reduce jaw pain.
Jaw pain can be very discomforting, especially when it persists for a long time. The jaw plays a significant role in a human’s overall body functionality, from speaking to eating to facial expressions. Jaw pain can vary from sharp, dull, and aching pain and can be caused by various factors such as injuries, diseases, and others. Here are some reasons behind the pain in your jaw and how to deal with it.
The Human Jaw
First, you need to know the anatomy of the jaw. The human jaw comprises a pair of bones called the mandible or lower jaw and the maxilla or upper jaw. These two are connected by a joint known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Here are some reasons why it hurts.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders
TMJ is the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorders occur when this joint is damaged or pops out of place. The pain associated with TMJ disorders can affect one or both sides of the jaw and be accompanied by headaches and popping sounds when one opens the mouth. Treatment options for TMJ disorders include medications, therapy, and surgery in severe cases.
Bruxism is the medical term used to describe teeth grinding and clenching. Stress is one of the leading causes of bruxism, and it can cause jaw pain, headaches, and dental problems such as cracked teeth and worn enamel. Treatment for bruxism depends on the severity of the condition and can involve using mouthguards, biofeedback devices, and stress management techniques.
Tooth decay, gum disease, and abscessed teeth can cause jaw pain. Inflammation and infection in the gums and teeth can spread to the jawbone, causing pain and swelling. Treatment options include fillings, root canal treatment, extraction, and antibiotics.
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a nerve disorder that causes sharp and intense pain in the face and jaw. It can be triggered by something as simple as brushing one’s teeth or touching one’s face. Treatment options include medication, surgery, and nerve blocks.
Sinus infections can cause pain in the upper teeth, jaw, and cheeks. The pain associated with sinus infections is usually accompanied by congestion, fever, and headaches. Treatment options include antibiotics, nasal decongestants, and antihistamines.
Thankfully, there are various ways to alleviate and even prevent this pain. Here are some of those ways:
Replace Missing Teeth
Any missing teeth you might have should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid pain in your jaw. When you have missing teeth, you put more pressure on your jaw. This can then lead to disorders like TMJ disorders over time. Thankfully, through a dental implant procedure, you can avoid this problem. The implant can alleviate the pain and help you chew food better.
Get Regular Check-ups
It is important to get regular check-ups at your dentist, as this can help prevent jaw pain from arising in the first place. Your dentist will be able to detect any issues that might cause jaw pain before it becomes a more serious problem.
Wear a Mouthguard
Mouthguards are a great way to protect your teeth and gums while sleeping, which can help reduce bruxism-related jaw pain. Wearing one also helps with snoring and sleep apnea.
Practice Good Posture
Poor posture can put unnecessary strain on your neck, shoulders, and back muscles, which can lead to tension headaches or other forms of pain in your jaw. Practicing good posture can help alleviate the pain and helps you stay healthier in general.
Apply Heat or Ice Packs
Heat or ice packs can reduce inflammation and swelling that may cause jaw pain. Applying them for 10 minutes at a time can be an effective way of managing your pain.
Lastly, you can take medications such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and pain relievers to help with the pain. These medications are available over the counter, but it is important to talk to your doctor or dentist before taking any medications.
Jaw pain is no joke, and it can have various underlying causes. Fortunately, plenty of ways exist to manage the condition and potentially prevent it from worsening. If you experience persistent jaw pain, consulting with your doctor or dentist is always recommended, as they can identify the source of the problem and provide appropriate treatment options for you.