Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

senior woman holding her jaw in pain

When your jaw aches a little, it can be annoying. When the pain is more serious, it can be hard to think about anything else. Like all pain, pain in the jaw is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. What are the most common reasons for jaw pain and what should you do about it?

Teeth Grinding & Clenching

Many people lead stressful lives. This stress can cause you to grind your teeth and clench your jaw. Sometimes, it happens at night when you aren’t aware of it, so you wake up sore. Teeth-grinding can also lead to dental damage. If your jaw starts hurting and you’re going through stressful times, you might be grinding and clenching your jaw.

Oral Health Problems

A painful jaw can be caused by a variety of oral health problems, such as damaged teeth, gum disease, cavities, and abscesses. With an abscess, you will also likely feel a lot of pain in the tooth that’s infected. The pain can radiate out into your jaw and even in your neck. If you’re experiencing this level of pain, it’s considered a dental emergency, so please give us a call.

TMJ Disorder

Your two temporomandibular joints (TMJ) on either side of your jaw allow you to open and close your mouth. About 1 in 8 people can develop a TMJ disorder. Symptoms include jaw tenderness and pain, a clicking sound when you move your jaw, and numbing or ringing in the ears. Stress often makes TMJ disorder worse.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are often triggered by stress. The pain can spread to your face. Oftentimes, when people get this type of headache, they automatically clench their jaw. This makes the pain worse.

Other Causes

There’s a host of other possible reasons for jaw pain including exhaustion and a lack of certain nutrients, as well as other conditions like arthritis, MS, and fibromyalgia.

What Should You Do About Jaw Pain?

If you’re concerned about your jaw pain, don’t hesitate to contact us at Kildaire Family & Cosmetic Dentistry! Dr. Brace and the team can help you figure out what is causing the pain and if it’s related to your dental health, so you can be free from the discomfort.