6 Causes of Jaw Pain You May Not Realize

Jaw pain can affect your ability to eat and talk, even to laugh. Therefore, it is important to know what your jaw pain means to find a way to overcome it.

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The most common cause of jaw pain

Most jaw pain is caused by an abnormality or injury to your jaw joint, especially in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). TMJ is a set of jaw joints and muscles that works to open and close the mouth when you chew, talk, or swallow. This joint also controls the lower jaw when moving forward, backward and sideways.

Pain caused by interference with TMJ joints is usually triggered by the habit of cracking the teeth while sleeping or stressed, arthritis until collision trauma to the jaw, head, or neck. Pain can also be caused by injury to the jaw joint and repeated use. Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders can include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Pain in the inside and around the ear
  • Difficulty or discomfort when chewing
  • Facial pain
  • Locking joints, making it difficult for the mouth to open and close
  • Other causes of jaw pain

If TMJ disorders are not the ones that cause your pain, some of the conditions below can also cause pain in the jaw and the surrounding area.

Dental problems

Disorders in dental health include gum disease, cavities, tooth cracks, broken teeth, tooth distortion, and uneven teeth can also cause jaw pain.

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches are one of the most painful types of headaches. The pain caused by cluster headaches is usually permanent, strong, and not throbbing which feels deep inside the head or around the eyes on one side of the head. The pain often moves to the forehead, temples, and cheeks and spreads to the jaw.


Sinusitis is inflammation or swelling of the sinus tissue near the jaw joint. Normal sinus is coated with a thin mucus layer that can catch dust, germs, or other particles from the air. When a sinus is blocked, germs can grow and cause infection. Inflammation of the sinuses can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi. Infected sinuses cause pressure on the jaw joint and cause pain in the area.

Heart attack

Heart attacks can cause pain, which is generally accompanied by the onset of pain in the upper body areas such as the chest, arms, back, to the neck. Especially in women, a jaw pain of a heart attack may appear on the left side of the face when a heart attack occurs. Call emergency number 118 immediately to get medical help as soon as you experience symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, and feeling faint.


Osteomyelitis is a bacterial infection of bone, bone marrow, and soft tissue around the bone. Bacteria enter the bone through the bloodstream after fractures, ulcers, or skin damage, middle ear infections, pneumonia, or other infections. Osteomyelitis occurs quickly and is very painful, or can occur slowly and cause little pain.

Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia or facial pain is a condition of abnormalities in the trigeminal nerve near the temples that can cause pain in the jaw. However, this condition includes rare.