7 Surprising Causes of Jaw Pain

causes of jaw pain

7 Surprising Causes of Jaw Pain

If you suffer from jaw pain, you’re not alone. Jaw pain is a common condition among adults, but the causes can vary greatly, making it difficult to diagnose and treat. Understanding the source of your discomfort can help you find the best relief. TMJ, teeth grinding, and tooth abscesses are some of the common causes of jaw pain, but here are 7 surprising culprits that you may not have considered.

Seven Possible Causes of Your Jaw Pain

1. Infection

Certain infections, such as sinus or ear infections, may cause jaw pain. This is because the pain from these infections can radiate to other parts of the body. In addition to jaw soreness, here are some other symptoms that may signify an infection: 

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Toothache
  • Cheek pain
  • Nasal congestion

2. Cluster Headaches

If you also have pain behind or around your eyes, then your jaw pain might be caused by cluster headaches. These are considered one of the most painful types of headaches. 

3. Heart Attack

Believe it or not, jaw pain can sometimes be a sign of a heart attack, a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Someone having a heart attack often experiences a crushing, heavy feeling in the center of the left side of the chest—this pain sometimes radiates to the jaw and neck, which is called referred pain. Other potential symptoms of a heart attack include difficulty breathing, sweating, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, and weakness.

If you or someone you’re with may be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

4. Autoimmune Conditions

Autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and systemic lupus erythematosus may also cause jaw pain.

5. Nerve Damage

Trigeminal neuralgia is a very painful condition that affects the trigeminal nerve. This facial nerve helps you detect sensations and move your jaw. Trigeminal neuralgia causes sharp, shooting pain in the lips, eyes, nose, jaw, forehead, and scalp of one side of the face. The pain is generally brought on by eating, talking, or exposure to cold air.

6. Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) occurs when the blood supply to a bone is disrupted and the bone begins to die, causing severe pain. The main causes of osteonecrosis include excessive alcohol consumption, osteoporosis medications, and trauma. The best way to lower your risk of ONJ is through good dental hygiene and regular dental care. 

7. Cancer

Oral cancer may also cause jaw pain. There may be other symptoms, such as persistent pain in the mouth, a sore in the mouth that won’t heal, trouble chewing or moving the jaw, swelling of the jaw, loose teeth, a lump or mass in the neck, and unexplained weight loss. We perform oral cancer screenings as part of your dental exams, and the good news is that treatment has high success rates when the cancer is caught early. 

Identify Your Jaw Pain By Consulting a Professional

It may also surprise you that these are only some of the possible causes of jaw pain. This is why getting to the bottom of your jaw pain may take a little patience and persistence. But rest assured that our team at Hicks Dental Group in Prescott will work diligently with you and your primary care doctor to determine the exact cause. The good news is that once the source of the jaw pain is found and a diagnosis is made, the vast majority of patients experience relief. If you’re experiencing jaw pain along with a toothache, contact us right away to identify the problem. 

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