Having pain in any part of your body isn’t a pleasant experience. When your jaw hurts, it can get in the way of your life, and you might not know what’s wrong. Pain in your jaw can cause you to hurt elsewhere, like your ear, or it can be linked to things that seem like they don’t have much to do with your jaw at all. Jaw pain can have a number of causes behind it, so finding out what’s causing yours isn’t always easy. If you or someone you know has jaw pain, here are some of the reasons it might be hurting.
One of the reasons you might find that you’re experiencing pain in your jaw is due to one or more of your teeth. Wisdom teeth have the tendency to cause trouble, and an impacted or infected wisdom tooth can certainly cause your jaw to hurt. That’s why many people opt for wisdom teeth removal, so they can’t cause problems for them. Other tooth and gum problems could cause jaw pain too, including abscesses and even particularly bad gum disease. If you think your jaw pain is related to your teeth, a trip to your dentist is the first step to investigating the cause.
Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorder
TMD or TMJ is the most common cause of jaw pain. The joints that make your jaw work are the temporomandibular joints and its these and the muscles that control them that might be causing you problems. TMD can be caused by injury to the jaw joint, pain from the jaw’s muscles, too much stimulation, or a disc that has been displaced or is being affected by arthritis. Some behaviors can damage your jaw, such as grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw when you’re stressed. An injury could also be caused by a blow, like a hit to the face when playing sports.
Problems with your sinuses can also lead to jaw pain. Your sinuses are a connected system around your forehead, nose and cheeks. We don’t exactly know that they’re for, but we do know that they should usually only have a thin layer of mucus in them. However, they can get infected or blocked up. If your sinuses are infected with a bacteria or virus, it can cause excess mucus, which might put pressure on the joint of your jaw.
In some cases, jaw pain can be a symptom of a heart attack. It’s not always widely recognized, particularly as women are more likely to experience it as a symptom and typically heart attack symptoms for women are less widely known. Someone having a heart attack might feel pain on the left side of their jaw, along with symptoms such as shortness of breath, sweating, or even stomach ache. If you suspect a heart attack, it’s essential to call an ambulance right away.
Jaw pain can be caused by a wide variety of things. If you’re unsure what’s causing it, a visit to your dentist or doctor can help.