Jaw pain can feel like tooth pain in one or more teeth. It may result from grinding or bruxism habits at night time or during the day due to stress and a multitude of other factors. If you wake up with pain in the jaw joints located in front of your ears you are likely to suffer from a tooth grinding habit. See a dentist to make an accurate diagnosis of the problem.
Tip: If you suffer from jaw pain resulting from bruxism or a tooth grinding habit the dentist will most likely make you a mouthguard or nightguard for you to wear at times when you grind. Wearing the guard during times of grinding will help prevent your teeth from rubbing together thereby avoiding stress on the jaw joints which causes the jaw pain.
Jaw pain FAQs
What are the causes of jaw pain?
This is a large topic with many potential causes so we have provided a brief overview.
Most commonly jaw pain is caused due to a dysfunction in the jaw joint. This can develop independently over time or may be due to a grinding habit or discrepancy in your bite after a filling or restoration is placed.
The jaw-joint is a very complicated apparatus and you must seek medical attention if you are suffering with pain. Visit your dentist who can examine your jaw-joint and then decide upon the best action to take. It may be that you are referred to a specialist if the problem is quite complex.
I have jaw pain only on one side. Is that normal?
This is quite common as normally only one (right or left) jaw-joint is dysfunctional. You should visit your dentist immediately who can examine your jaw-joints and decide, which side is causing the pain. If you have to wait a few days to see the dentist try to avoid hard, chewy foods as this will make the jaw pain worse.
Can jaw pain also affect the ear?
Yes. Pain from the jaw-joint can spreads towards your ear. Often this might have been the first pain that you have felt. If you are experiencing pain in your ear it is worth visiting the dentist to check whether the pain is spreading across from your jaw-joint. This is one of the most common symptoms regarding jaw pain.
How do I treat jaw pain?
You should avoid eating chewy, crunchy and harder foods. Chewing gum is one of the worst things to do when you are experiencing jaw pain as the chewing motion puts a lot of stress on the jaw-joint.
You can also take anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers but you should always seek medical advice before taking any medications.
What is TMJ Treatment?
Normally this involves a specific tailored plan depending on the cause. You must visit your dentist who can examine your jaw-joint and diagnose the cause. The treatment will depend on this diagnosis.
If the jaw-joint has been damaged or is operating in an incorrect manner the dentist may suggest wearing a special guard on your teeth to correct the dysfunction. This can also help if you are grinding your teeth during the day or night.
You may require prescribed medication also if the jaw-pain is related to stress.
In some more severe circumstances surgery may need to be performed to correct an element of the jaw-joint. This should only be done by a specialist (someone who has specifically trained after graduation in that field).