Jaw Ache

November 12, 2012

Jaw Ache

Your jaw is made up of the jaw bone, the surrounding soft tissues as well as the temporomandibular joint that connects the lower part of the jaw bone to the temporal bone of the skull.

Causes

The jaw joint is one of the most used joints in your body. Pain or discomfort in any part of the jaw can lead to jaw ache. Stress and frequent teeth grinding are often the most common causes of pain that is associated with the temporomandibular joint. Jaw ache can also indicate underlying conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, infection and neuralgia. Other causes may include age-related wear and tear on the jaw or surrounding tissues, jaw alignment disorder, or jaw dislocation or fracture.

Some dental conditions such as tooth abscess, tooth decay and dry socket may cause jaw ache in many patients. Inflammation of thyroid glands or nerves of face may also lead to severe jaw pain.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will diagnose the actual cause of jaw ache based on your family history as well as your previous medical records. Poor nutrition and vitamin deficiency may also cause the disease.

Symptoms

Jaw ache may be dull and slow to develop, or it may be acute and severe. You should consult a doctor, especially if the jaw pain persists for more than 48 hours. The symptoms depend on the underlying disorders that may or may not be related to organs related to the jaw. Common symptoms associated with jaw pain include dizziness, ear pain, fatigue, fever, headache or neck pain. The pain may also limit your ability to open your mouth or chew properly. Jaw pain may also be associated with swelling of jaw or face.

It may also be an indication of heart attack. In fact, you should seek emergency help if you experience jaw pain along with locked jaw, chest pain, radiating shoulder pain or shortness of breath as it may be an indication of heart attack. Jaw pain may also be triggered by eating or swallowing certain kind of foods.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the underlying cause. You may choose to take over-the-counter pain medications to treat the jaw ache. Associated conditions may require specific treatments. Deep breathing and exercise may help relieve stress. Inflammation and infections may require prescription antibiotics. Your doctor may perform some surgical procedures to adjust the alignment of your jaw bone, and treat anatomical defects associated with jaw pain.

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