Jaw pain can be very uncomfortable and can actually be a symptom of a serious health issue. If you have a job here that lasts longer than 24 hours or is extremely severe, you should see your dentist for an exam to help determine the cause of your jaw pain. Below are some reasons one might experience jaw pain.
Bruxism and Malocclusion: Bruxism is the unconscious clenching and grinding of the teeth, most often while we sleep. Clenching and grinding your teeth can cause a significant amount of jaw pain and can fracture or wear down your teeth. Your dentist may advise the use of a night guard to act as a buffer between your teeth and relieve pressure from clenching.
Malocclusion is when your teeth do not fit together properly when you bite and chew. Depending on the extent of your malocclusion, your dentist may be able to correct it with a bite adjustment. If you have a severe case, you may require orthodontic treatment.
It is also possible to suffer from jaw pain due to overuse, such as constant gum chewing, which can be remedied simply by giving your jaw a rest!
- Joint Disease: Just like your hips and knees, your jaw is a joint and can succumb to the effects of joint diseases such as arthritis.
- Infection: An ear infection can cause pain in the jaw as can a sinus infection. Most of the time, a sinus infection will cause pain in your upper teeth but pressure from blocked sinuses can lead to jaw pain as well.
- An abscessed tooth can also lead to jaw pain depending on the severity of the infection, which can quickly move into the jaw.
- Stress and other factors: People often strain their facial muscles when they feel stressed which can trigger jaw pain. Patients have also experienced jaw pain with an allergic reaction, cold, or flu.
One type of jaw pain that can be indicative of a severe problem is pain in the lower left jaw. Pain in the lower left jaw can be a symptom of heart trouble, especially in female patients. Just as chest pains on the left side and in the left arm are well-known symptoms of heart disease, the same should be known about jaw pain.
Since jaw pain is so frequently a symptom of a larger issue, it is very important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice it. Your dentist is the first person you should see and if they are unable to diagnose the underlying problem, they will recommend you see your general practitioner for further diagnostic tests and treatment