Jaw Pain

Jaw pain can be a debilitating condition that affects your ability to eat and speak.

Jaw Pain

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMD)

The temporomandibular joints are the hinge joints on each side of your jaw.

Causes of TMD include:

  • pain from the muscles that control jaw movement
  • injury to the jaw joint
  • excess stimulation of the jaw joint
  • a displaced disc that usually helps cushion the movements of the jaw
  • arthritis of the protective disc that cushions the jaw joint

Damage to the jaw joint or the muscles that control your jaw movement can be caused by several factors, including:

  • grinding your teeth at night
  • involuntarily clenching your jaw due to stress and anxiety
  • trauma to the jaw joint, such as getting hit in the face while playing sports

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches typically cause pain behind or around one of the eyes, but the pain can radiate to the jaw. Cluster headaches are one of the most painful types of headache.

Sinus problems

The sinuses are air-filled cavities located close to the jaw joint. If the sinuses become infected with a germ, such as a virus or bacterium, the result can be an excess of mucus that puts pressure on the jaw joint, causing pain.

Tooth pain

Sometimes severe tooth infections known as dental abscesses can cause referred pain that radiates to the jaw.

Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that’s most commonly caused by nerve compression on the trigeminal nerve that provides sensation to a large portion of the face, including the upper and lower jaws.

For more information: Temporomandibular Disorder versus Trigeminal Neuralgia

Heart attack

A heart attack can cause pain in other areas of the body besides the chest, like the arms, back, neck, and jaw. Women in particular may experience jaw pain on the left side of their faces during ­a heart attack.