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Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

Jaw pain can cause trouble eating, trouble speaking, or just an overall bad mood.

Jaw pain can cause trouble eating, trouble speaking, or just an overall bad mood. There are a number of possible reasons why your jaw may be hurting.

Cluster Headaches

It may be caused by cluster headaches which disseminates pain experienced from around one’s eyes to the jaw area. This causes a buildup of pain near the jaw area which can cause several subsequent issues to one’s health.

Sinus Problems

Sinus problems may also cause jaw pain. When one’s sinuses get infected, extra mucus is collected which puts pressure near the jaw. Further, jaw pain may occur due to trigeminal neuralgia, or “nerve compression on the trigeminal nerve” as well as the after effects of a heart attack.


Jaw pain may also be caused by trauma. If you have a broken jaw, dislocated jaw, or recently had dental surgery, you may experience pain in your jaw area. Measures can be taken to provide immediate relief of the pain, but it is advised to seek medical help as soon as possible.

TMJ Disorder

Subsequently, one of the more common possibilities is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder), which is a condition that affects the joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. In severe cases, bruxism puts extra pressure on your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and can cause pain in the jaw, clicking or popping sounds when moving the jaw, and difficulty opening or closing the mouth.

One of the common factors that lead to TMJ disorder and can worse jaw pain is bruxism, which is the clenching and grinding of one’s teeth. This may happen due to stress or anxiety and can occur during the day and night. Bruxism can lead to headaches, earaches, and soreness in the jaw. Many individuals experience bruxism and you are not alone if bruxism is the leading cause of your jaw pain.

Other Conditions

There are also a variety of other conditions that can lead to jaw or facial pain. Here are some of them:

  • Osteomyelitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Vascular conditions
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Ear infections
  • Obstructive sleep apnea(OSA)
  • Fatigue
  • Salivary gland disorders

Jaw pain is not comfortable by any means. If you are experiencing severe pain in your jaw, it is important to visit a dentist to find the cause and evaluate treatment options.

Dr. Kyle Stanley

Dental Advisor

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