Jaw Pain

Jaw pain on the left side and jaw pain on the right side, as well as general pain throughout the jaw, is an indication that something’s wrong. There’s a good chance that your family dentist at Dental Associates of Morris County can diagnose the cause of your discomfort and suggest treatments. There are many reasons you may feel pain in the jaw and surrounding teeth, many of which are directly related to other dental problems. Once the source is determined, then your Madison, NJ dentist can recommend the best solutions to help restore your health.

Pain in the jaw interferes with many of your daily functions, from eating and chewing to smiling and talking. It’s hard to think about anything else except the throbbing jaw pain sometimes. Jaw pain on the right side and jaw pain on the left side often is related to specific dental health issues in those regions of your mouth. It often begins as an aching sensation that gets stronger, but jaw pain can just come out of nowhere with sudden bursts of searing pain.

Since your family dentist knows your dental history, he may have some insight into where to begin looking for the source of your discomfort. For example, if you just had a root canal on the right side, jaw pain on the right side may be related to an infection. Prepare to tell your dentist at Dental Associates of Morris County when the pain started and when it gets worse to help him find an effective jaw pain treatment.

Common Causes of Jaw Pain

Jaw pain on the left side or anywhere in your mouth can be caused by a number of different factors. In in addition to pain in the jaw, you may be having other signs causing your discomfort, such as swelling and tenderness around your face.

Bruxism, or persistent teeth grinding, is one of the most common reasons for developing jaw pain. Other issues that can lead to a pain in the jaw include:

  • Untreated tooth pain
  • Extreme gum sensitivity
  • Cheek damage, usually resulting from excessively grinding your teeth while you sleep
  • Lockjaw
  • Broken tooth that also causes nerve pain
  • Worn-down enamel on your teeth

How Do You Know if You Have Bruxism?

Your dentist begins to suspect that you suffer from bruxism when he notices that your tooth enamel is wearing down sooner than expected. He may notice during your bi-annual checkup and teeth cleaning session that your gums are more sensitive than usual. Bruxism is also a source of headaches, which provides another clue.

The fact is, you may not even know that you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep or even when you’re awake. In addition to jaw pain, you also may suffer from frequent earaches and even blurred vision.

Your dentist can fit you with a custom mouth guard to wear at night to discourage this habitual behavior. Relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing can help reduce teeth grinding during the day.

Jaw Pain Due to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Joints on both sides of your jaw connect your jawbone to your skull bone. Called temporomandibular joints, they go largely unnoticed most of the time. When they are unhealthy for any reason, though, you can develop temporomandibular joint disorder, referred to commonly as TMJ.

TMJ also leads to pain in the jaw at the joint connection, earaches and headaches. TMJ can cause difficulty chewing. You may hear loud clicking noises when your mouth is moving. TMJ disorders can cause either jaw pain on the right side or jaw pain on the left side.

Your Madison, NJ dentist may recommend treatments for TMJ such as:

  • Advising you to stick to a softer diet
  • Taking relaxation medications while continuing to try to relax naturally
  • Lying down with a heating pad on the side that hurts
  • Using anti-inflammatories or pain medication

Jaw Pain from Other Sources

A facial injury can cause your jaw to fracture or become dislocated. Getting hurt while playing sports is a common cause of pain in the jaw. Mouthguards can help prevent sports injuries and accidents.

Jaw pain may be directly related to neck pain originating from a spinal condition. Cavities that need fillings and gum disease both can cause infections that can lead to throbbing tooth pain and jaw problems. Taking care of your dental health is the first line of defense against lingering jaw pain.

Visiting your family dentist in Madison, NJ on a regular basis — as well as practicing a daily oral hygiene routine — help prevent tooth decay, periodontal disease and other tooth problems that often cause jaw pain.