You woke up with a painful jaw this morning, or maybe you have been dealing with it for several weeks already. No matter how long you have been experiencing jaw pain, it’s important to learn about the underlying cause to get the right treatment you need. Remember, jaw pain can be a symptom of a more serious disease.
Jaw Muscle Stress and Spasms
Yawning, and other activities that involve overextending of the jaw, can cause stress to your jaw muscles, causing them to hurt. Normally, the pain only lasts for a short period of time.
Tooth decay, cavities, and gum problems like gingivitis can also cause jaw pain. Unlike jaw muscle stress, jaw pain caused by dental problems last longer, usually until you identify and address the problem. To address the dental problem, consult your oral surgeon. Salt Lake City dental practitioners also recommend seeing your doctor if you have an impacted wisdom tooth.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
The temporomandibular joint connects the skull and the lower jaw. Damage to it can lead to TMJD or temporomandibular joint disorder.
In addition to pain, people who have TMJD may also have chewing difficulties, a clicking jaw, and pain around the face and neck. Improper bite, teeth grinding, and MPS (myofascial pain syndrome) are the most common temporamandibular disorders.
If TMJD or dental problems are not the reason for the jaw pain, it can be a sign of more serious diseases such as heart attack. This is characterized by pain around the lower part of the jaw, and discomfort around the neck, shoulders, and arms.
Jaw pain along with persistent lumps or sores inside the mouth may be a symptom of jaw cancer. Smokers and people who chew tobacco products are at risk of jaw cancer. If you experience these symptoms, speaking with an oral oncologist can help you.
A painful jaw can be a sign of a serious disease. Seeking dental or medical assistance is important to get the necessary treatment you need and to stop discomfort as soon as possible.