What are the Causes of Jaw Pain?

by Anthony Carter on February 4, 2011


jaw painThe jaw is a part of the body that most of us never spare a thought for and it is only when it become painful that we will notice it at all. There are many possible reasons why we could be experiencing this type of discomfort, and in some cases it could lead to more problems if the symptom is ignored. In a lot of instances this jaw pain may be due to something simple like overuse, but this is not always the case and it is wise to seek medical advice.

Possible Causes of Jaw Pain

It is usual to divide the possible causes of jaw pain into two categories; primary and secondary jaw pain. If we say that it is a primary jaw pain we mean that the problem is actually stemming from this part of the body. With secondary jaw pain we are dealing with pain that is radiating from elsewhere in the body. It is very important to determine if the pain is primary or secondary because this will determine the treatment required. Here are just some of the most common causes of this type of pain.

  • A direct blow to the jaw can cause damage and this type of trauma is likely to mean you will experience jaw pain.
  • Another type of trauma which can cause this symptom is due to bruxism; clenching of the teeth that can happen when we are asleep.
  • If you have developed some type of infection or abscess in the jaw area then this could cause a lot of jaw pain.
  • Infections such as sinus and ear infections may be responsible for this symptom.
  • Arthritis can sometimes be responsible for pain in this part of the body.
  • Some older people can develop a condition called bone spurs where there are outgrowths on the teeth; these can cause a lot of pain around the jaw area.
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition that leads to inflammation in the joints – including possibly the jaw joint.
  • If there are problems with your teeth such as cavities or broken teeth then this can cause this type of symptom.
  • If a gum infection is severe it may lead to pain in the jaw.
  • If you have had any type of dental surgery then this too could lead to jaw pain in the days following the operation.
  • Rare conditions like Scurvy are also a possible cause.

How to Treat Jaw Pain

The wisest course of action is to see a dentist first of all. If they feel that the pain is not dental related they will refer you to a doctor for further investigation. If the pain is due to an infection it is important to get prompt action because there is the risk of developing sepsis; where the body produces a dangerous inflammatory response. Jaw pain can be annoying so it is best to get it dealt with as soon as possible.

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