Experiencing Jaw Pain On One Side
Do you experience jaw pain on one side when you wake up? Maybe both sides of your jaw hurt or just one left or right side. Whether youre at work, chilling with friends, or spending time with your family, nothing can be more irritating and worrisome than a jaw pain thats driving your mood and energy away.
There are several causes of a painful jaw, so when looking for treatment, the most important thing is diagnosing the reasons behind your pain. Your jaw is a delicate part of your body, and excessive clenching or other actions can bring you to a more painful state and incur jaw pain on one side.
Jaw Pain And Headache Causes Symptoms And Treatment
Jaw pain and headache, also known as temporomandibular disorder , are common yet annoying ailments.
Though the cause is not fully understood, its often considered a disorder of the jaw joint and the muscular system attached to it. Headaches and jaw pains are very common, especially in adult men, and are usually nothing to worry about.
However, if you are experiencing jaw pain or headaches, you should consult your dentist. While it may seem simple, there are many potential treatment options for TMD.
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Disorder
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction disorder refers to long-term pain and dysfunction in the TMJ, the joint that connects the upper and lower jawbones.
The TMJ is a complex joint with complicated movements and is subject to strain and injury. Symptoms may come and go for no apparent reason. Misalignment of the teeth and jaw, and tooth grinding, are no longer believed to be a cause. Women seem to be more susceptible than men.
TMJ disorder has three types:
- Pain or discomfort in the muscles controlling the TMJ.
- Dislocation or injury to the jawbone.
- Arthritis of the TMJ.
Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and imaging. The goal is to rule out other causes such as sinus infection or facial nerve damage.
Due to the difficulty of diagnosing TMJ disorder, treatment begins with conservative methods that do not permanently change the jaw or teeth. Ice packs, soft foods, gentle stretching of the jaw muscles, and reducing stress are all encouraged. Short-term pain medications may be used. Splints, Botox, implants, and surgery are not recommended.
Top Symptoms: dizziness, pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw, history of headaches, jaw pain, pain in the back of the neck
Symptoms that always occur with temporomandibular joint dysfunction disorder: pain, restricted movement, and clicking sounds from jaw
Urgency: Primary care doctor
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What Causes Tmj Disorders
TMJ occurs when there is dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. Several things can cause TMJ, including arthritis, teeth grinding, jaw clenching, injury to the jaw, and stress. If you are experiencing TMJ pain, it is essential to see a doctor so that they can determine the cause of the dysfunction and recommend treatment.
What Are The Symptoms Of Jaw Pain
Jaw bone pain when opening the mouth can vary in intensity from mild to severe. It may be a sharp, shooting pain or a dull, throbbing pain. The pain may be constant, or it may come and go. Jaw pain is often worse when you move your jaw, such as when you talk, yawn, or chew. You may also experience earache, headache, or pain in the teeth.
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What Is Jaw Pain
Jaw pain can be a sign of something as common as a toothache — or even something as serious as a heart attack. Your jawbone, also called a mandible, connects to your skull at a pair of joints known as the temporomandibular joints, or TMJs. These joints are just in front of your ears, and they let you open and close your mouth.
Your jaw also holds your teeth and gums, which can be sensitive to heat, cold, or pressure. They also can get infected if you donât keep them clean.
What Causes Tmj Syndrome
TMJ syndrome can be caused by trauma, disease, wear and tear due to aging, or oral habits.
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What Are Some Other Tmj Treatments
If conservative treatments are unsuccessful, your healthcare provider may suggest one or more of the following:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation . This therapy uses low-level electrical currents to reduce pain by relaxing your jaw joint and facial muscles. TENS can be completed at home or your healthcare providerâs office.
- Ultrasound. This is a deep heat treatment that is applied to the TMJ to relieve soreness or improve joint movement.
- Trigger-point injections. Pain medication or anesthetic is injected into tender muscles of the face to relieve pain.
- Radio wave therapy. Radio waves create a low-level electrical stimulation to the joint, which increases blood flow and provides TMJ relief.
- Botulinum Toxin . These injections help reduce muscle mass and inflammation.
Why Does My Jaw Hurt On One Side
There are several potential causes of jaw pain occurring on one side of the mouth. The pain may be due to nerve problems, an injury or blood vessel issues. Sometimes, its the result of a dental problem, such as an abscessed tooth or cavity.
Generally, one-sided jaw pain isnt serious. But, especially if the pain is accompanied by other symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider.
Below, Dr. Ivan Stein of the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey discusses some of the potential causes of one-sided jaw pain and the additional symptoms to watch out for.
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How Is Jaw Pain Treated
Treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder pain depends on the underlying cause. If the problem is due to bruxism, your dentist may recommend a mouth guard to protect your teeth from damage. If you have TMJ disorder, treatment may include exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the joint and medications to relieve pain and inflammation. If the pain is due to an infection, you will need antibiotics to clear the infection. If the pain is due to arthritis or another chronic condition, treatment may include medications, physical therapy, and surgery.
Jaw pain or facial pain can be a sign of a severe problem. If you are experiencing pain in temporomandibular joints, it is essential to see your doctor or dentist diagnose and treat the cause.
Jawbone pain can have many causes. Some causes are more severe than others. Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the jawbone pain. If you experience jaw joint pain when opening your mouth, see your doctor or dentist so that they can determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment.
What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
In This Article
Temporomandibular joint or TMJ disorder creates pain in and around the jaw. When the jaw muscles are strained, damaged, or inflamed, the condition can create a dull, throbbing pain on one side of the face.
The jaw joint connects your lower jaw to your skull, and its located in front of your ears. The joint supports and moves your teeth when you chew and speak.
Its estimated that TMJ affects around 12% of the US population. The misalignment of the jaw, which is caused by problems in the temporomandibular joint , causes pain and discomfort in areas of the head and neck.
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What Is Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome
Temporomandibular joint syndrome is a pain in the jaw joint that can be caused by a variety of medical problems. The TMJ connects the lower jaw to the skull in front of the ear. Certain facial muscles that control chewing are also attached to the lower jaw. Problems in this area can cause head and neck pain, facial pain, ear pain, headaches, a jaw that is locked in position or difficult to open, problems with biting, and jaw clicking or popping sounds when you bite. The temporomandibular joint syndrome is also referred to as the temporomandibular joint disorder. Overall, more women than men have TMJ syndrome.
The TMJ is comprised of muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and bones. You have two TMJs, one on each side of your jaw.
Muscles involved in chewing also open and close the mouth. The jawbone itself, controlled by the TMJ, has two movements: rotation or hinge action, which is opening and closing of the mouth, and gliding action, a movement that allows the mouth to open wider. The coordination of this action also allows you to talk, chew, and yawn.
What Are The Causes Of Jaw Pain
There are many possible causes of jaw pain, including:
Arthritis: This is a common cause of jaw pain. Arthritis can damage the cartilage cushions the joint, leading to pain and inflammation.
Bruxism: This is a condition where you grind or clench your teeth. It can occur during the day or at night. Bruxism can lead to jaw muscle pain, tooth damage, and headaches.
TMJ disorders: The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. TMJ disorders can cause jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw, and pain in the temples or ear.
Dental problems: Dental problems, such as cavities, abscesses, or impacted teeth, can cause jaw pain.
Infection: Infections, such as sinus infections or dental infections, can cause jaw pain.
Injury: Jawbone fractures or other injuries to the jaw can cause pain.
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What Are Risk Factors For Tmj Syndrome
Ongoing studies conducted by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research , part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, are focused on evaluating risk factors for TMJ syndrome in healthy individuals. Initial results have identified a group of physiological, psychological, sensory, and genetic and nervous system factors that may increase the risk of developing TMJ syndrome. New findings will allow us to better understand the onset and progression of TMJ syndrome. Furthermore, novel ways to diagnose and treat the condition can be developed. Below are some risk factors that have been identified:
Gender: Women are at higher risk of developing TMJ syndrome compared to men. Additionally, there may be differences in how women and men respond to pain and to pain medications.
Age: Studies of individuals between the ages of 18-44 show that the risk to develop TMJ conditions increases for women. This has been noted especially for women during their childbearing years. For men ages 18-44, there was no increased risk.
Pain tolerance: Studies suggest that people who are more sensitive to mildly painful stimuli have an increased risk of developing TMJ syndrome.
Genetics: There is some indication that genes related to stress response, psychological health, and inflammation may increase the risk for TMJ syndrome.
Chronic pain: Those who suffer from chronic pain conditions such as lower back pain and headaches may be at increased risk for TMJ syndrome.
What Does Jaw Pain On One Side Mean
Jaw pain on one side can be concerning. But in most cases, its not a sign of a serious condition.
Mild jaw pain is usually temporary and resolves on its own. But severe jaw pain can feel excruciating, making it difficult to talk, chew, and swallow. It can also cause pain and discomfort in other parts of the body. Severe jaw pain typically requires medical attention and treatment.
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Symptoms Of Locked Jaw
A tight jaw can cause pain or discomfort in many parts of your body. The intensity of the pain can vary and may be described as achy, throbbing, tender, or severe. These feelings may become worse while chewing or yawning.
The exact location of the pain can also vary. If you have a tight jaw, you may feel discomfort on:
- one or both sides of your face
In addition to pain, other symptoms of a tight jaw may include:
- limited range of motion when you try to open your mouth
- locking of the jaw joint
Read on to learn about possible causes of a tight jaw and what you can do to find relief and prevent future tightness.
When To Seek Medical Advice
See a GP if you experience frequent or persistent facial pain, particularly if standard painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, do not help and a dentist has ruled out any dental causes.
The GP will try to identify the problem by asking about your symptoms and ruling out conditions that could be responsible for your pain.
However, diagnosing trigeminal neuralgia can be difficult and it can take a few years for a diagnosis to be confirmed.
Read more about diagnosing trigeminal neuralgia.
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One Side Of My Jaw Hurts But Not The Other: Unilateral Orofacial Pain
Orofacial pain has its own unique way of getting your attention. Whether its throbbing, shooting, dull, or tender, it can quickly sideline you from your day. But if the pain is only on one side of your face, could it still caused by your temporomandibular joint ?
Absolutely. Many people experience TMJ pain on just one side of their face. Facial or jaw pain that occurs on one side is known as unilateral orofacial pain. Unfortunately, people with this type of pain may wrongly assume that TMJ problems always occur on both sides, and therefore something else must be causing the issue. They may confuse it with other ailments, such as an earache, toothache, or headache.
Your TMJ is a complex, hard-working joint that can become inflamed or misaligned on one or both sides. And, to add to the confusion, the pain can actually alternate between sides.
Jaw Pain On One Side: Causes And Treatment
Experiencing jaw pain on one side can be severely debilitating, preventing you from doing simple things such as talking to people or eating your meals. There are several causes of jaw pain on one side, which can be classified as being due to primary or secondary causes. Primary refers to a medical condition that affects the area directly, while secondary refers to a medical condition originating elsewhere in the body affecting the area indirectly.
The majority of jaw pain cases are due to primary causes such as injury or dental problems. Most secondary causes of jaw pain will most likely need to be seen by a specialist to help find an accurate diagnosis.
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What Are The Symptoms Associated With Jaw Pain On One Side
There can be varied symptoms of jaw pain on one side, some of which include:
- A sharp pain in your face and jaw
- Constant clicking, popping and grinding sounds
- Swelling in your face
- A burning sensation in your whole mouth
Are you experiencing any of the above symptoms accompanied by jaw pain on one side? You need medical attention ASAP.
How To Treat Jaw Pain Caused By Tmj
If you think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, the first step is to see a doctor or dentist. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend a treatment plan. TMJ treatment may include splint therapy, physical therapy, Botox injections, or surgery. If you have mild TMJ, you may be able to treat it at home with over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs.
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How Do You Know If Ear Pain Is An Infection
A few things can help you determine if an infection causes ear pain. First, ear infections typically cause pain worse when lying down or pulling on the ear. There may also be discharge from the ear, and the ear may feel swollen or warm to the touch. If you think you have an ear infection, it is essential to see a doctor so that they can confirm the diagnosis and start you on antibiotics.
How To Alleviate Jaw Pain
Do you have mild pain in your jaw? You may not need medical treatment! Here are a few ways you can get relief:
- Apply a hot or cold compress. Heat can help your muscles relax, giving you relief from aches and stiffness. Alternatively, a cold compress can numb the pain and reduce swelling.
- Take over-the-counter pain relief. Medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can temporarily relieve your pain.
- Rest your jaw as much as possible. Stick to a diet of soft foods that dont require a lot of chewing. Itll help you avoid overworking your jaw muscles!
- Massage your jaw. It can help release pain and tension in your jaw. Try some techniques on your own or visit a specialist for help .
If youre experiencing jaw pain on one side, use the tips outlined above for some relief. Although it should typically resolve on its own within a few days, you can always seek treatment from your dentist for peace of mind!
About the Author
Dr. Nicholas Brong is passionate about helping patient achieve and maintain optimal oral health. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of California in San Francisco. If youre experiencing one-sided jaw pain, Dr. Brong and his team can help you get the prompt relief you deserve. To make an appointment, visit our website or call 288-1066.
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