Jaw Pain

Many people associate jaw paint with Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). While this disorder does cause jaw issues, it is not always to blame for jaw pain. Jaw pain can actually be a symptom of many other serious health problems. A dental professional should evaluate the pain if it is severe or lasts for more than 24 hours. Jaw pain should never be ignored. Pain in the jaw or teeth can indicate a serious problem and should be evaluated immediately.

Some of the most common health issues associated with jaw pain include the following:

  • Bite issues
  • Grinding of the teeth
  • Heart condition
  • Infections
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Over Use


If the teeth are not aligned properly, it can cause issues with how the teeth interact with one another and can result in jaw pain. This is often called your bite pattern. When the teeth are misaligned, it can cause jaw pain and cause the teeth to wear unevenly. In most cases, a misaligned bite pattern can be corrected through braces or other orthodontic solutions which can reshape the bite.

Teeth Grinding

Grinding the teeth, which is common when sleeping, can place excessive amounts of pressure on the jaws. Because this often occurs while you are sleeping, other muscles which surround the jaw can also be affected. Follow up with your dentist to discuss if you may be a good candidate for a night guard to help protect your teeth from grinding.

Infections and Jaw Pain

Sinus infections can also cause jaw pain due to the pressure of the sinus cavity. The pain may be from the swelling of the sinus region, from the pressure of the blocked sinuses, or from the spread of the infection. When they remain untreated, sinus infections can also lead to ear infections.

Ear infections can also cause jaw pain. Because of where your ears are located, any form of infection or swelling can quickly result in jaw pain.

An infected or abscessed tooth is a leading cause of jaw pain. If you have any type of tooth or gum infection, the infection and pain can quickly travel into the jaw area. This is especially true for abscessed teeth, regardless of where they are located in the jaw.

Joint Disease

Osteoarthritis is most commonly associated with pain in the knees or hips, and in some cases elbows or shoulders. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis can occur at any joint in the body, which includes the jaw. The medical professional will need to evaluate other factors in order to determine if the jaw pain is associated with a form of arthritis.

It is important to note that in most cases, jaw pain is a symptom of another underlying medical condition. As a result, it should be taken quite seriously and promptly addressed. The pain may be the early sign of infection, injury, an autoimmune disorder or even a heart condition. Not all cases of jaw pain is related to TMD issues, bite patterns or teeth grinding.

Patients who are experiencing jaw pain should follow up with their dentist right away to determine the cause of the pain. The dentist can provide you with an effective treatment plan and aid you in the management or relief of the pain. In some cases, you may need to be referred to a physician for additional evaluation and treatment.

Pain or Swelling in the Mouth