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Jaw Pain—Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

tooth pain management

Jaw Pain—Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Jaw pain is a kind of discomfort and pain patients experience in their jaw area. You can experience pain or discomfort in your lower jaw, TMJ (temporomandibular joint or jaw joint), or your jaw’s surrounding soft tissues. In some cases, the pain can extend to your neck and ears. It might be chronic, temporary, or sudden, depending on its underlying cause. But no matter where you experience it, pain is pain and can hinder you from doing your daily activities. You should seek medical help if your jaw pain is not going away quickly or is severe and causing discomfort.

Your jaw plays a crucial role in controlling your mouth’s closing and opening movement. Your jaw joint is among the most frequently used joints in the body. Several tendons and muscles make up the joint surrounding the jawbones. Lower jaw pain can occur when the tendons and muscles quickly wear and tear or get injured due to several things, including overuse, accident, and bad lifestyle habits like grinding teeth.

Key Symptoms of Jaw Pain

An expert healthcare provider can diagnose your jaw pain condition or reason why your jaw hurts based on the symptoms you experience. Pain associated with the jaw meets several characteristics, including:

  • A clicking sound when you move the jaw
  • Difficult chewing or biting
  • Pain when speaking or chewing
  • Tenderness or pain in jaw, neck, shoulders, face, or around the ears
  • Facial swelling
  • A popping sensation
  • An uneven bite
  • Hearing issues
  • And much more!

Common Causes of Jaw Pain

Understanding the cause of your jaw pain is vital in finding a treatment plan to relieve that ache and discomfort you’re experiencing in your jaw area.

Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth

Stress is the main reason why people clench or grind their teeth. It’s possible to develop such parafunctional habits when you have anxiety or are under stress. When under extreme stress, you can use your teeth or mouth beyond their intended purposes, such as chewing food.

Grinding teeth, also called bruxism, is a parafunctional habit that makes you clench teeth together for seconds or minutes without realizing it. The practice can stress your jaw and teeth, ligaments, muscles, and tendons supporting the jaw, leaving you with severe pain or discomfort.

Suffering from a TMJ Disorder

The TMJ on either side of the jawbone acts as a hinge connecting the skull and jaw. Several factors can lead to a TMJ disorder. For instance, arthritis or a physical blow can damage the joint, or the disc can move out or erode, causing a TKM disorder.

Though several TMJ disorders exist, their most common symptom is jaw pain. Your doctor will perform a physical assessment to determine if your jaw pain results from a TMJ disorder.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

The third set of your molars is the wisdom teeth. Most people develop these teeth in their early 20s or late teenage. These teeth generally don’t perform any crucial function, and not every person gets them. But if wisdom teeth develop in your mouth, you’ll have two on the bottom and two on top of your gum lining.

If your wisdom teeth don’t get enough space in your jaw bone to break through the gum accordingly, they can become impacted or trapped and cause pain in your jaw over time.

An Untreated Cavity

Plaque or grody bacteria build up beneath your teeth can cause jaw pain. If you don’t clean the food particles trapped in your teeth, they can damage your enamel to form a cavity. The cavity can spread to the dentin to cause discomfort in your mouth. It can further move down and reach your teeth’s pulp causing pain and discomfort to radiate around the jaw.

A Bite Problem

Having a ‘good bite’ typically means your teeth are lining up correctly with each other. However, with a ‘bad bite,’ a few or all of your teeth are not lining up correctly. A ‘bad bite’ can either be an underbite (the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth) or overbite (the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth).

Whether you have an underbite or overbite, it’s an uneven bite that prevents your jaw from functioning accordingly. The unevenness can cause wear and tear and pain in your upper jaw and surrounding muscles and joints.

Jaw Pain on One Side

If you experience jaw pain on the right side or jaw pain left side, the chance is that you have an underlying condition on the side of concern. If you’re suddenly suffering from lower jaw pain or the right side of your jaw hursts, several factors can be responsible, including:

Tumors and Cysts

One reason why your jaw hurts or cause of pain in lower jaw is a cyst or tumor. Cysts and tumors are those muscles of tissue in your body containing fluid. Some cysts and tumors can negatively influence your general oral health by damaging tissue and bone in the mouth.


Sinusitis is an inflammation in your nasal cavity. It can cause pain in the jaw, either in the right or lower jaw or on both sides. It usually happens due to too long exposure to allergies or cold. Since the condition can lead to jaw cramp, sore jaw, or inflammation in the nasal cavities, it can also cause pain in your jaw area.

Dental Problems

When your jaw hurts, several dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, misaligned or missing teeth, an abscess, or grinding and clenching can be behind the jaw pain you’re experiencing on one of the sides of your jaw. If you have a dental issue causing one-sided jaw pain and discomfort, other symptoms like sore jaw, sensitive teeth, bad breath, painful and bleeding gums, tooth pain, pain with chewing and swallowing can accompany it.

How to Relieve Jaw Pain

Whether you have jaw pain when running, jaw soreness, pain on bottom jaw, or severe jaw pain, the discomfort or pain from the jaw issues are not permanent and might even disappear independently. But if the pain persists or does not go away after a few weeks, you should seek medical help. Several treatments can help manage or alleviate the symptoms of jaw pain.

Home Remedies for Jaw Muscle Pain

If you experience jaw pain when opening mouth wide or jaw hurts when chewing, home remedies such as ice and rest can be helpful. You can end sudden mild jaw pain by pressing ice on the area of concern for several minutes. Apply ice packs covered in a soft clothing material or a warm, wet towel to your jaw bone for 10 minutes. If you encounter jaw pain when chewing, try to limit the number of times you chew daily and focus on relaxing your jaw bone. If your jaw hurts when chewing, seek professional assistance if home remedies do not curb the pain.


If your jaw hursts when running, over-the-counter pain-relieving medication can help reduce swelling and inflammation and reduce pain. Medications can relieve nerve pain, like pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, tricyclic antidepressants, anti-seizure medicines, muscle relaxants, and others. However, consult a medical professional on which pain-relieving medications can help with your jaw soreness or pain problem.

Dental Surgery

Surgery can be an option if the reason why your jaw hursts is due to an abnormality of your jaw. If an underbite or overbite is what causes jaw pain, your doctor can recommend a dental implant procedure to fix the issue. There are different types of dental procedures to sort varying problems. Your dentist can assess your condition to determine which dental treatment options best suit your needs.

Stress Management Techniques

As earlier discussed, stress can lead to clenching and grinding of the teeth and eventually jaw pain. It’s one of the underlying jaw pain causes you can treat with stress management techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, etc.

Stretching Exercises to End Jaw Pain

Stretching workouts, especially those that target the jawbones, can sometimes be used to get rid of mild jaw pain. If your jaw hursts when running, you can also adhere to techniques that massage the jaw muscles to remove the pain. Use your fingers to gently massage the jaw joint, pressing the sore region of the jaw when trying to eliminate the pain.

Physical Therapy

If your jaw hursts or experience frequent jaw pain, physical therapy including non-drug treatments like ultrasound and heat to relieve the symptoms of jaw pain.

Jaw pain can lead to potential complications that might vary based on the underlying cause. Jaw pain resulting from an issue with your jaw joint can permanently damage the joint and the neighboring tissues. Since the jaw pain issue can be because of a severe health problem, you should seek medical help if you’re not sure what the underlying cause of your problem is. When you experience pain on bottom jaw, jaw pain when opening mouth wide, jaw pain when chewing, jaw muscle pain, pain in upper jaw, or any other pain in jaw, failure to seek professional assistance can result in permanent damage and serious complications. West Hollywood Holistic and Cosmetic Dental Care is your go-to dental clinic when looking for effective ways on how to relieve jaw pain.

TMJ Treatment Los Angeles

If you have recurrent or sever jaw pain or a combination of jaw pain symptoms, you should seek medical help immediately. West Hollywood Holistic and Cosmetic Dental Care is your go-to dental office in Los Angeles when you have a pain in jaw problem. When you visit our office in Los Angeles, our certified dentist can assess your condition to determine what causes jaw pain. Depending on what the underlying cause of your sever jaw pain or pain in lower jaw is, we can recommend one or a combination of these treatment options:

Pain Medication and Antibiotics

We can provide non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to fight the pain and inflammation responsible for your severe pain in jaw. If your pain in jaw is because of infectious causes from bacteria affecting the sinuses, we can prescribe appropriate antibiotic drugs to combat your pain symptoms.


If surgery is the only option to end your pain in jaw, we offer surgical processes that can kill your face’s nerve fibers to eliminate discomfort. We can also assess your jaw pain causes and perform invasive and non-invasive surgeries as one treatment option to relieve the pain arising from TMJ disorders. Note that we will only recommend surgery if the other treatment options for jaw pain fail to work with your condition.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you have pain in jaw and have tried all at-home treatment remedies, but your condition persists, call us to schedule your appointment with the best dentist in Los Angeles. Despite what causes jaw pain, our West Hollywood Holistic and Cosmetic Dental Care dentist will discuss your jaw pain symptoms with you. Whether you have a sore jaw, jaw cramp, jaw pain on the right side, pain in lower jaw, jaw pain left side, our TMJ treatment Los Angeles experts will execute a comprehensive oral assessment to determine different treatment options that suit your situation and customize a treatment plan for you quickly and cost-effectively.

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