Understanding Jaw Pain

Understanding Jaw Pain

Six Top Reasons Behind Your Jaw Pain

Our experienced orthodontist in Buffalo NY knows that pain in the mouth is more than enamel-deep. When a client presents with pain in a tooth, the jaw, or the throat, orthodontists think of the bigger picture; they consider and examine the entire head and neck to find the source of the problem. Pain in one part of the head often stems from an unnoticed connection in a seemingly unrelated area.

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Jaw pain is one such mysterious complaint. Because of the jaw’s central location in the head, pain can originate in any of the many bones, muscles, nerves, and connective tissues in the craniofacial region, or the area comprising the head and the neck. In our practice, we have found that the most frequent causes of pain in the jaw include the following.

1. You May Have a Sinus Infection.
You May Have a Sinus Infection.
Sinus infections can be mild, with few or no symptoms beyond pressure in the sinuses, or they can be severe. Severe sinus infections can do more than cause pressure in the face; they can cause ear pain and dizziness, and some people even experience jaw pain.



2. Neck Muscle Problems Can Radiate Outwards.
Neck Muscle Problems Can Radiate Outwards.
Our muscles in the craniofacial region are interconnected. If you do not have a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder, you could have a pulled or strained muscle in your neck and shoulder region that is causing you pain in your jaw and ears.



3. You Might Have an Abscessed Tooth.
You Might Have an Abscessed Tooth.If you have an abscessed tooth, it can eventually cause jaw and ear pain. Signs of an abscess, aside from pain, include a swelling of the face, a buildup of pus under the gum line, a blister resembling a sore on the gum, or even a fever. An abscess requires treatment with antibiotics, or it can become life threatening.



4. You Could Be Grinding Your Teeth Without Realizing It.
You Could Be Grinding Your Teeth Without Realizing It.Many people with jaw pain are suffering from bruxism, a condition that involves frequent grinding or clenching of the teeth. This grinding can occur during waking hours or during sleep, and regardless of the time of day, bruxism often results in pain in the jaw.



5. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
Temporomandibular Joint DisorderWith Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ, the joints of your jaw do not work in the way that they are designed. Treatment does exist, but the goal is to control or stop the symptoms of the disorder.




6. Trigeminal Neuralgia Could Be the Culprit.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Could Be the Culprit.Trigeminal neuralgia is the inflammation of the trigeminal nerve. This particular nerve is responsible for the motor functions of your face, such as chewing. The inflammation can be moderate in nature and only cause mild pain when eating, or it can be so severe that the face begins to ache from exposure to the slightest pressure.


A seemingly minor issue in one location of the head could point to a substantial problem in another, so it is important to receive regular checkups from our orthodontist in Buffalo NY. If you experience constant and perplexing pain in your jaw, do not hesitate to schedule a free screening with us to uncover and treat the root cause.  For further guidance on the matter, download our complete orthodontic care guide created by our doctors.

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