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FAQ: Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

February 26, 2020
Posted By: Orono Dental Care, also courtesy of WebMD

Jaw Basics

Your jawbone is also called a mandible. It connects to your skull at a pair of joints known as the temporomandibular joints, or TMJs. These are located just in front of your ears. they let you open and close your mouth.

TMJ Disorders

This is one of the most common reasons for jaw pain. About 1 in 8 people may have a TMJ disorder. It’s more common among women. You might get it if you injure your jaw or after an illness. Arthritis other conditions can attack the cartilage that helps protect your joint. Stress can worsen it, too. Symptoms include:

  • Clicking sound when you open your mouth
  • Pain or ache around your ears, face, or jaw
  • Constant headaches
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Dizziness
  • Vision problems

If you think you might have a problem with your TMJ, ask your dentist. Your dentist may have you take over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain. They also might recommend that you exercise your jaw muscles to strengthen them, and to certain habits that make TMJ worse, like chewing gum or biting your nails. You might also get a plastic occlusal guard (aka night guard or bite guard) to keep you from grinding your teeth. In more extreme cases you might need prescription drugs or even surgery to fix the problem.

Dental Problems

Many issues with your teeth can lead to jaw pain. They include:

  • A toothache, usually because of a cavity or an abscess
  • Teeth that are cracked, crowded, or sensitive to temperature or pressure
  • Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, which can damage your jawbone

Other Possibilities

Pain in your jaw can be an indication of some other medical issues as well. Certain types of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, or illnesses such as tetanus can cause jaw pain as well. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about pain in your jaw.

Content courtesy of WebMD. Full article can be found here.

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