3 Common Causes of Jaw Pain

It’s hard to ignore pain or tenderness in your jaw or in or around your ear, or discomfort while chewing. But many people wait to discuss these symptoms with their dentist. Unfortunately, ignoring these problems can lead to additional complications, some of which can be serious.

For over 30 years, Peter Gambertoglio, DDS, has been diagnosing and treating minor to complex dental issues, including those causing jaw pain. These are just a few of reasons you might be having jaw pain and why you should seek professional attention.

1. Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and muscle disorders cause joint pain in over 10 million Americans. These symptoms develop on each side of your jaw where it hinges because of the joints, tendons, or muscles. 

Signs of TMJ include:

When you have TMJ, it’s also common to unconsciously clench or grind your jaw. These actions can chip, crack, or wear down your teeth, putting them — and your jaw — at risk of further damage. 

After diagnosing TMJ, Dr. Gambertoglio might recommend an orthotic device called a “flat plane splint.” These comfortable mouthpieces are easy to use and help your jaw unclench naturally.

2. Teeth grinding

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a serious problem and one of the leading causes of jaw pain. While it can be present with TMJ, many people clench, grind, or gnash their teeth when under stress or sleeping. 

Several factors can increase your chances of teeth grinding, including:

As stated above, grinding can put your teeth at serious risk, sometimes requiring dental reconstruction. But it can also lead to chronic headaches, jaw disorders, and severe facial or jaw pain.

3. Dental issues

Several dental problems can lead to jaw pain, even when your jaw isn’t directly affected. These types of conditions include:

You can also experience symptoms in your jaw if you have gaps in between your teeth, misaligned teeth, or severe tooth damage. This type of pain usually occurs when you put stress on your jaw with actions like chewing or biting.

In most cases, you can avoid this type of jaw pain by practicing good oral hygiene habits at home and scheduling routine dental visits every six months.

When to call 911

It’s important to note that you can also experience jaw pain while having a heart attack. This symptom is especially common in women who often feel this pain on the left side of their face during a heart attack. 

If you have jaw pain with other symptoms, like sweating, nausea, faintness, shortness of breath, or chest discomfort, seek medical attention immediately.

Do you have jaw pain? Contact our office in Spring, Texas, to schedule an appointment by calling 281-350-8852. 


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