Jaw pain is any kind of pain or discomfort in the jaw area, which includes the jawbone, jaw joint and the surrounding soft tissues. Jaw pain may occur suddenly or it may be built up over time. This pain may be triggered by various activities such as eating, swallowing or merely touching the jaw area.
Causes of jaw pain can be divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary jaw pain is caused by a condition which involves the jaw, while secondary jaw pain is caused by a condition elsewhere in the body which can cause pain to migrate to the jaw.
One of the most common reasons for jaw pain is stress to the temporomandibulr joint leading to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). This joint is immediately in front of the ear on each side of the head. It is surrounded by muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues.
Trauma of the jaw is an example of primary jaw pain. Trauma can be caused by bruxism or clenching of the teeth. An abscess, infection or tumor in the jaw can also lead to jaw pain. Cavities, broken teeth and teeth which have been pulled out of alignment can also hurt the jaw. Other sources of primary jaw pain include bone spurs which are known as bony out grows that happen among adults. Projection of impacted wisdom teeth definitely cause hurting sensation to this joint. The mandibular joint is the specific area that arthritis attacks. In relation to this, pain is caused by inflammation of the jaw bone. Sinus infections may also lead to jaw pain. This is because of the pressure in the ears and sinus cavities which are connected to this facial joint. Migraines have also been linked jaw pain especially when the sufferer grinds their teeth. Another cause is the swelling of the glands in the neck which in turn results to a hurting sensation in one’s facial joint and cause tenderness of the jaw, and obscure conditions like phosphorus necrosis of the jaw, also known as phossy jaw.
It is important to give your facial joint a rest. Excessive chewing must be avoided. Chewing gum is not healthy because it induces constant movement of the jaw muscles making the related jaw painful and swollen. A strain in the neck and shoulders due to wrong posture when working and sleeping can also result to an aching facial joint.