If you suffer from sudden jaw pain, you may be experiencing a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including the following:
- Pain near and around ear area and/or jaw
- Clicking sound when mouth opens or closes
- Facial swelling
- Ringing in ears
- Jaw and facial tenderness
Jaw joint pain typically occurs as a result of or response to an underlying medical or dental condition. Your doctor or Dakota Dental team can help diagnose what may be causing your sudden jaw pain.
What Causes Jaw Pain?
1. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder
Your TMJ is the joint located right in front of your ear, and along with connected tissues, muscles and ligaments, this joint allows you to open and close your mouth and is an essential part of your oral health and function. TMJ disorders often occur as a result of inflammation, injury, or other underlying medical or dental conditions, and because of this, it’s often considered an umbrella term for other jaw pain causes, including some listed below. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, TMJ disorders affect 5-12% of people, with a higher prevalence in women and younger individuals. Treatment for TMJ disorders varies drastically, as it relies on the underlying cause(s). It’s best to discuss your concerns with your doctor or your dentist at Dakota Dental.
Arthritic conditions, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, affect the bones, tissues and ligaments surrounding joints. Because jaw movements rely on your TMJ, you may experience jaw joint pain from the effects of arthritis on that particular joint. Your doctor or Dakota Dental team can perform X-rays to assess the condition of your TMJ and create an appropriate treatment plan to minimize your sudden jaw pain.
3. Sinus Problems and Infections
Many people suffer from sinus problems, and the pressure and inflammation that often comes with sinus infections can encourage sudden jaw pain to occur. Some over-the-counter nasal decongestants may help relieve some of the pressure. If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, talk with a medical professional about treatment options to relieve pressure and any jaw joint pain. It may also help soothe and reduce swelling in the area with moist heat or ice packs for ten-minute intervals.
4. Injury or Trauma
Sudden jaw pain can result from an accident or injury that caused orofacial damage and trauma, especially to the TMJ or jaw area. With any trauma or injury-related condition, it’s important to work with a medical professional to assess your overall health and wellbeing. Your doctor or dentist may prescribe medications or recommend over-the counter medications that pertain to your individual condition to help with jaw pain relief, including anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, antibiotics, pain medication, etc.
5. Teeth Clenching & Grinding
Whether it occurs during the day or while you’re sleeping, clenching or grinding your teeth can be a sign of increased stress, and the constant tension can cause jaw joint pain. Oftentimes, practicing stress-relieving activities, like meditation, can help manage stress, which can help to reduce tension from clenching or grinding. Your Dakota Dental team can also help determine what jaw pain relief options are available to you, including using a dental appliance like a mouth guard to protect your teeth from clenching and grinding and encourage proper alignment.
6. Underlying Dental Problems
There are a variety of dental issues and conditions that could cause sudden jaw pain. Your Dakota Dental team can help you identify what’s causing your jaw pain and provide appropriate treatment that’ll offer jaw pain relief, such as extractions, implants, fillings, etc., while ensuring good overall oral health. Here are some common dental problems that can result in associated jaw joint pain:
- Gum Disease
- Damaged Teeth (broken, cracked, chipped, etc.)
- Tooth Decay
When a tooth extraction site isn’t properly cleaned or the surrounding jaw tissues that are attached to the extracted tooth (i.e. periodontal ligaments) aren’t completely removed, dental cavitation can form. Cavitation occurs when leftover debris and ligaments after a tooth extraction or root canal create holes in the jaw bone over time, inhibiting the natural healing process and, oftentimes, directly causing sudden jaw pain. Your Dakota Dental team can assess your jaw joint pain, diagnose cavitation, and discuss the best cavitation treatment options to address your needs, including debridement, surgical removal, or ozone treatment with bone grafting.
Find Jaw Pain Relief at Dakota Dental
If you’re experiencing sudden jaw pain, it may be time to speak with your doctor or dentist to determine underlying jaw pain causes. Understanding how uncomfortable jaw pain is for our customers, we offer comprehensive dentistry services, and our experienced dental team can help address your oral health concerns, perform the necessary assessments to diagnose your underlying jaw pain causes, and customize a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs, including treatments for sudden jaw pain, such as gum disease, root canals, cavitation, and more!
For more information about our sudden jaw pain treatments or cavitation services, contact us today, or visit our website to schedule an appointment online to see one of our dental specialists to begin jaw pain treatment.