top of page

Jaw Pain

Jaw pain, which can be experienced by many people, can stem from various reasons. Factors such as stress, clenching, chewing on one side constantly, chewing gum, or biting on a pen can lead to jaw pain. However, more serious conditions like tumors in the head and neck region can also cause jaw pain that negatively affects one's life. The treatment methods for jaw pain can vary depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Uniqacare Clinic's Oral and Dental Health Department provided information about jaw pain and its treatment methods.

What is jaw pain?


Jaw pain is the sensation of pain felt in the jaw area, which can be caused by various factors. It can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. Jaw pain should not be taken lightly, and its source should be determined as soon as possible through a medical examination and various tests. Treatment should be initiated promptly without delay.


What are the causes of jaw pain?


The causes of jaw pain can cover a wide range of factors. There are many factors that can contribute to temporomandibular joint disorders.


The most important ones can be listed as follows:

  • Teeth clenching and grinding (Bruxism)

  • Stress

  • Constantly chewing on one side

  • Incorrect prosthetic treatments affecting the relationship between the jaws

  • Missing teeth

  • Traumas and injuries to the jaw area

  • Sports accidents

  • Tumors and systemic disorders affecting the head and neck region

  • Prolonged and traumatic dental procedures

  • Posture and alignment problems

  • Neurological, psychological, and psychiatric issues

  • Congenital anatomical abnormalities

  • Parafunctional habits such as gum chewing, pen biting, and nail biting


What are the symptoms of jaw pain?


Over time, the symptoms of mild temporomandibular joint disorders may intensify and lead to more severe jaw joint pain, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, clicking or popping sounds from the joint, jaw dislocation, and limited or sliding jaw movements.


How to diagnose jaw pain?


The diagnosis of temporomandibular joint disorders involves a detailed examination of the teeth and occlusion system, chewing muscles, and jaw joint. In necessary cases, diagnostic imaging methods such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) may be used to confirm the diagnosis.


How can it be relieved? What is the treatment of jaw pain?


The treatment methods for temporomandibular joint disorders can be defined under various headings depending on the cause and severity of the condition. The aim of the treatment is to restore normal and pain-free jaw functions in the patient. In this process, cooperation with the patient is of great importance.


The treatment approach for jaw pain is determined according to the severity of the condition. In most cases, these symptoms are temporary and do not lead to more serious problems. Once the underlying cause is eliminated, the complaints usually subside.


In many cases, using a combination of these treatments yields effective results. Relying solely on a single treatment may not lead to complete relief.


The following methods are generally used in the treatment of jaw pain:


  • Soft Diet: Consuming foods that do not require excessive chewing can reduce pressure on the jaw joint and chewing muscles. Avoiding large pieces of food that require excessive opening of the jaw and hard foods is necessary.

  • Ice Packs, Exercises, and Heat Applications: Exercises related to jaw opening and closing recommended by the dentist, along with external cold or heat applications at specific intervals to the joint area, can provide relief.

  • Medications: The dentist may prescribe pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, or muscle relaxants to alleviate muscle pain and prevent jaw muscle contraction. In some cases, sedative drugs may also be advised.

  • Botulinum Toxin (Botox) Application: Reducing the activation of the chewing muscles that cause tension can prevent teeth grinding and reduce the load on the joint.

  • Splints: A splint is a transparent, removable appliance applied to the lower or upper jaw, staying between the teeth. It helps the lower jaw, which is accustomed to incorrect closure, to learn the correct closing, relaxes the muscles, and enables the correct movement of the jaw. Depending on the patient's problem, it may need to be used only while sleeping or continuously for 24 hours. The splint eliminates the tight contacts between the teeth, allowing the lower jaw to move freely and comfortably. Properly functioning lower jaw and associated muscles will result in the correct position of the jaw joint, relieving discomfort and pain in the muscles and joint.

  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): In this treatment, low-level electric current is used to relax facial muscles and the jaw joint. This may cause pain in some individuals.

  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound therapy is usually applied as heat therapy when the joint is painful or difficult to move.

  • Trigger Point Injections: The dentist injects painkillers or anesthetics into facial muscles for this treatment. While demonstrating its pain-relieving effect, stretching the jaw muscles with simple exercises can be beneficial.

  • Arthroscopy: Like most surgeries, arthroscopy also requires general anesthesia. It allows the jaw surgeon to examine the joint and surrounding damage. Depending on the cause, diseased tissue is removed, or the position of the disc or condyle is corrected.

  • Open Joint Surgery: Open joint surgery is performed if there is degeneration in the jaw joint or tumoral structures around the joint or in cases of severe injury or fracture. Completely recovering from this surgery is more challenging compared to arthroscopy. Additionally, there is a higher risk of scarring and nerve damage.



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT JAW PAIN?

Which department deals with jaw pain?


Jaw pain falls within the expertise of dentists.


Which doctor should be consulted for jaw pain?


Since jaw pain can stem from various issues related to teeth and other oral tissues, it is advisable to visit a dentist first.


Are muscle relaxants used for jaw pain?


Muscle relaxants prescribed by dentists can be used for the treatment of jaw pain.


Can jaw pain be caused by COVID-19?


COVID-19 is not directly responsible for jaw pain. However, the stress associated with the disease can lead to increased teeth grinding, which may cause jaw pain.


Is exercise beneficial for jaw pain?


Exercises can be beneficial in the treatment of jaw pain. Home exercises recommended by a dentist are essential in the management of jaw joint disorders. It is important for the patient to apply them carefully.


What helps with jaw pain?


Under the supervision of a doctor, treatment options for jaw pain may include exercises, medication, hot and cold applications, splint usage, and botulinum toxin (Botox) injections.


Can a herniated disc in the neck cause jaw pain?


If a herniated disc in the neck puts pressure on a nerve, it may cause pain radiating to the jaw.


Can jaw pain occur while eating?


Jaw pain is one of the most common complaints experienced while eating. During chewing, the jaw joint and chewing muscles are activated. If there is any discomfort in the muscles or the joint, it may cause significant pain during chewing.


Can wisdom teeth cause jaw pain?


A fully erupted and healthy wisdom tooth in the mouth does not cause jaw pain. However, if the wisdom tooth is impacted, decayed, or completely buried, it may cause jaw pain due to infection in the tooth and surrounding tissues. This applies to all teeth, not just wisdom teeth.


Does jaw pain radiate to the ear?


The jaw joint is located very close to the ear in terms of position. Therefore, jaw pain may also affect the ear area.


Can jaw pain occur after root canal treatment?


Root canal treatments are lengthy procedures. If the patient keeps their mouth open for an extended period during the treatment, it may lead to jaw pain after the root canal treatment.


Does teeth clenching cause jaw pain?


When teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, becomes persistent and is not prevented, it can lead to excessive stress on the jaw joint, resulting in jaw and joint disorders. The forces transmitted to the jaw joint through the teeth can cause pain and irreversible changes in the area.

Questions about appointments?

You'll find answers to questions about the appointments process, scheduling, referrals and more.

See Frequently Asked Questions here.

Read Uniqacare Stories

Sharing Uniqacare is a place for patients, families and Uniqacare staff to share their experiences. You might find inspiration in their triumphs and powerful stories.

Read Uniqacare stories

bottom of page