Everton Park  07 3355 1422
Mitchelton  07 3354 3341

Everton Park (538 South Pine Road) 07 3355 1422  |  Mitchelton (Suite 1/17 Blackwood Street) 07 3354 3341

Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

There can be many reasons for jaw pain, from injuries to dental problems or infections in other parts of the body. Jaw pain can range from mild to severe, but it should always be a cause for concern. If jaw pain lasts more than a few days or is affecting your quality of life, you should make an appointment to see a dentist.

Here are some of the common reasons why a jaw may feel painful.

Jaw Pain

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the joints on each side of the head that connect the lower jaw to the skull, allowing the jaw to open, close and move. Pain or stiffness in the jaw may be due to a TMJ disorder, also called TMD.

Dietary changes and home remedies such as avoiding hard foods, trying not to clench your jaw and performing gentle jaw stretching exercises can sometimes alleviate TMD. If more intervention is needed, treatments may include anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, physical therapy or jaw surgery.

Teeth grinding (bruxism)

If you grind or clench your teeth (known as bruxism), this could be putting strain on your jaw and TMJ. Depending on the cause of bruxism, treatment recommendations may involve trying to manage stress, wearing a dental splint to prevent grinding at night or orthodontics to correct a misaligned bite.

Other dental problems

Other problems with the teeth or gums can have jaw pain as a symptom, including cavities, damaged or worn teeth, a wisdom tooth coming through, advanced gum disease or a dental abscess. Your dentist will examine your mouth and jaw and recommend suitable treatment options.

Jaw injuries

Direct injury to the jaw often results in pain. A broken or dislocated jaw is a medical emergency. You should visit your nearest emergency room for urgent care.

Some jaw injuries may be prevented by always wearing a seatbelt when riding in vehicles and wearing protective headgear and a mouthguard when playing contact sports.

Infections and diseases

A range of bacterial infections and diseases can have jaw pain as a symptom, including mumps, sinusitis and tetanus. Rheumatoid arthritis may cause damage to the TMJ joints, leading to stiffness or soreness.

Medical emergency

If jaw pain extends to your chest or shoulders, this could be a sign of a heart attack. You should call 000 for immediate assistance and advice.

How to ease jaw pain

Jaw pain usually goes away on its own, unless it has a serious underlying cause. Your dentist or doctor may recommend remedies to help ease the pain in the meantime, including:

  • Resting your jaw and avoiding over-exertion, such as loud yawning or singing
  • Exercising your jaw to stretch or strengthen the muscles
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relief medication
  • Placing an ice pack or cold compress against the aching spot several times a day

Talk to a dentist in Brisbane

If you have jaw pain or you’re worried about other signs of a problem, our dentists at Swish Dental can help. Call our Everton Park dental clinic on (07) 3355 1422 or our Mitchelton clinic on (07) 3354 3341 or make an online booking with one of our experienced professionals.