Jaw Pain

Often if someone is experiencing jaw pain it is attributed to TMD (known as Temporomandibular Disorder.) However, though TMD can be a cause of some jaw problems, jaw pain can stem from many other serious health issues, and should be addressed by a healthcare professional if the pain is extreme and/or lasts for more than 24 hours. Pain in your jaw should never be ignored, as it could be signifying another issue that might become more serious if not treated.  Possible other issues and conditions that might be causing jaw pain include grinding of the teeth, misaligned bite patterns, overuse, other infections, osteoarthritis, heart conditions, stress, and autoimmune disorders.

Grinding Teeth

Excessive pressure is put on the jaw when a person grinds their teeth when they are sleeping.  Other surrounding muscles can be affected, too. If you think you might be grinding your teeth when you sleep you should consult with your dentist to find the right kind of device to help stop grinding the teeth.

Misaligned Biting Pattern

Bite pattern, which is the way your teeth interact, if misaligned, can also cause pain in the jaw area, and can cause teeth to wear unevenly.  Misaligned bite patterns are usually correctible with braces and other correction devices.


Overusing your jaw may sound like a joke, but it actually can be a serious issue. Chewing gum for long periods can cause jaw damage resulting in constant pain. Resting the jaw is usually the fix.

Other infections

Sinus infections, ear infections, and tooth and gum infections have all been known to cause jaw pain. Sinus pressure in the sinus cavity can actually cause pain in the jaw area, from the swelling of the sinus, the pressure from blockage, or the actual spreading of the infection itself. Similarly , ear infections can cause jaw pain, from swelling or soreness in the tubes behind the ears.

Meanwhile, an infected tooth is one of the leading causes of jaw pain.  Any kind of gum or tooth infection can trigger pain that can manifest in the jaw area. An abscessed tooth is very likely to cause jaw pain.  If infection is suspected to be causing jaw pain, immediate care is extremely important. Untreated infections can be a very serious health risk.


Since jaws are joints osteoarthritis is possible. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body.  If your jaw is aching consistently, your doctor can check for other indications of arthritis.

Heart Conditions

A dull and consistent pain in your lower left jaw could indicate possible heart trouble.  Similar to chest and left arm pain, heart pains can manifest in the lower left jaw, especially for women as it turns out. If your jaw pain is isolated to the lower left side and you have any other indicators of heart problems (such as shortness of breath, chest pains, or left arm pains) get care immediately.


Interestingly, stress can be a contributor to pain in the jaw.  Since people strain face muscles when under stress, jaw pain can be a result. Relaxation techniques are advised in this case.

Other causes

Allergies, and fly and cold symptoms have also been reported as contributing to jaw pain.  Most importantly, jaw pain is an important kind of pain to acknowledge and take seriously since it can indicate other possibly serious underlying health conditions.

If you are noticing jaw pain, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to assess what is causing this pain. Your dentist can help determine the likely cause and advise you on appropriate treatment or refer you to a physician if necessary.

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