What Causes Abnormal Jaw Pains and How to Treat It

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Pain within the jaw can occur for any number of reasons. The jaw joint, also known as TMJ, is at an area of the face that is prone to pain caused by surrounding issues. This joint consists of the jawbone, which is situated just below the mouth. These joints are extremely complex, and can be prone to experiencing pain from any number of underlying issues. This is due primarily to the fact that the jaw is one of the most often used joints within the body. Understanding why you experience pain in this area can be helpful towards identifying the treatment method that’s right for you, such as an orthodontist.

Causes of Abnormal Jaw Pains

There are an abundance of reasons as to why you can suffer from abnormal jaw pain. One of the foremost causes of abnormal pain is teeth grinding. It’s important to note that teeth grinding can happen without your knowledge of it, as it tends to occur when you’re sleeping. The condition itself can affect practically anyone, and generally starts because of stress or an abnormal bite. For those that go through teeth grinding, jaw pain isn’t the only issue caused by this condition. These additional problems include everything from increased tooth sensitivity to cracked teeth. While occasional teeth grinding is usually not enough to cause jaw pain, consistent grinding definitely can.

Aside from teeth grinding, one of the leading causes for jaw pain is a disorder that takes its name directly from the primary jaw joint, that of the TMJ joint. The TMJ disorder is known as such because some particular condition has caused those specific joints to work improperly, which means that pain will start to subsist. While there are treatment options available for this condition, it can cause a lot of pain in and around the jaw area. This pain can manifest itself in clicking sounds when opening your mouth, difficulties with moving your mouth due to pain and other issues.

While these are the primary causes for abnormal jaw pain, there are several others that could contribute to pain in the jaw. Arthritis may lead to jaw pain at some point, as can severe sinus issues and standard jaw injuries. These injuries could be due to sports or a car accident. An infection around the jaw area has a high likelihood of leading to jaw pain. Toothaches and other oral health problems, such as periodontal disease, will likely create pain that extends to the jaw area, which is especially noticeable when opening your mouth. While the exact cause will likely need to be determined by an orthodontist, there are many treatment options available for each of these conditions.

How to Effectively Treat These Pains

Pain in the jaw can go away without treatment. However, treatment is heavily recommended, due primarily to the fact that the pain you’re experiencing can also worsen over time. If the pain doesn’t let up, a variety of treatment options are available to look at. For certain issues, such as TMJ and standard jaw pain derived from a car crash, pain relievers may be all that you need to relieve and eliminate the pain. However, if the pain has been caused by a bad bite, toothache or other oral health problem, the solution for this may be found in braces. Many of the causes of abnormal jaw pain can be corrected by having your teeth straightened. Issues like teeth grinding and TMJ can go away with the usage of orthodontic appliances that can be provided by our orthodontist. If you currently suffer from TMJ, several types of orthodontic treatments may be available. These treatments depend primarily on a variety of factors, including:

  • Tolerance of mouth appliances
  • Medical history
  • Severity of the disorder


TMJ splints can be developed specifically for relief of the teeth grinding that typically causes this issue. If your abnormal jaw pain is caused by a bad bite, or certain other problems, you may want to consider the usage of braces. These appliances are available for adults, as well as children, and will position your teeth in a manner that relieves the pain. If you don’t want to wear metal on your teeth, you may also be eligible for an alternative orthodontic appliance known as Invisalign. Invisalign is essentially an invisible form of braces, and can work wonders in ensuring that you remain comfortable even when wearing them.

Orthodontic appliances aren’t the only treatment methods available for jaw pain. Muscle relaxants and sedatives can lessen the pain, especially if it is mild to moderate in nature. Several therapies are also possible. Physical therapy, including the application of heat and ice, can be used as a means of reducing the pain. Once this is accomplished, certain exercises can be performed to strengthen the jaw muscles, and ensure that the problems don’t persist. In order to keep pain away in the future, no matter the cause, you may also want to consider counseling. Counseling can assist in providing you with the education necessary to make sure that the factors that first aggravated the pain are avoided in the future. These factors could including everything from biting your fingernails to leaning too much on your chin.

In rare instances, the jaw pain may be too severe for standard treatment methods. As such, more intensive treatments could be called for, such as surgery. Corticosteroid injections may be applied to the joint as a means of lessening the pain. A procedure known as Arthrocentesis makes use of needles being placed directly into the joint. These needles will send fluid through the area in order to assist with the removal of debris that’s causing pain. Lastly, surgery might be necessary in cases where the pain is caused by an actual structural issue. This is rare and is typically not recommended.

Contact an Orthodontist Today

King Orthodontics offers high-quality orthodontic care from two orthodontist, including:

• Dr. Sam King
• Dr. Jack King

Patients can contact us at 937-433-0830 to schedule a complimentary consultation to determine if they or their child needs to wear:

• Metal wire and bracket braces
• Invisalign aligners
• Ceramic devices
• Damon System orthodontics
• Retainers

It is possible for patients to schedule an appointment with us at either our Fairborn or Centerville location. While visiting our orthodontic facilities, we suggest requesting more tasty recipes to make while undergoing orthodontic treatment.  We offer a complimentary consultation after an examination to discuss you or your child’s orthodontic requirements.

King Orthodontics, 400 East Dayton, Yellow Springs Rd. Fairborn, OH 45324

Phone: (937) 878-1561 Fax: (937) 433-9530

What Causes Abnormal Jaw Pains and How to Treat It

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