What are the causes of jaw pain?

Jaw pain is not uncommon, and it can be caused by a variety of things. Below we’ll look at some of the most common causes of jaw pain so that you know what to look out for.

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJ)

TMJ is a disorder of the jaw joint. It can cause pain, clicking, and popping in your jaw. TMJ can also cause headaches and facial pain.

It’s often hard to determine exactly what causes TMJ disorder. Pain may be due, in part, to genetics or arthritis—or it could result from a jaw injury.

For some people, the jaw pain that occurs with temporomandibular joint disorder is accompanied by grinding or clenching of the teeth. But many people grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders.

Teeth grinding

Grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism, is one of the most common causes of jaw pain.

When you grind your teeth, you’re applying pressure to both the upper and lower surfaces of your teeth. This can cause wear on the enamel and damage to the roots.

Grinding teeth can be caused by stress, anxiety, or even some medications. If you notice that you have been grinding your teeth, it’s best to consult with your dentist about potential causes and treatments available.


If you’re suffering from jaw pain, it’s possible that your discomfort is coming from a toothache.

A toothache may be caused by tooth decay, gum disease, or even a cracked or chipped tooth. If you have a severe toothache and need to see the dentist right away, make sure to call ahead so they can prepare for your arrival.

Impacted wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last molars that grow in your mouth. They can be impacted, or pushed back so they’re not visible when you open your mouth. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain and discomfort while they’re still there.

Ear infection

You may have heard of ear infections or abscesses as a cause of jaw pain. A common symptom of an ear infection is pain, which sometimes migrates to the jaw.

A small percentage of people with sore jaws are actually experiencing the symptoms of an ear infection, so it’s important to rule out other causes before assuming this is your issue. If you’re experiencing pain in your face and ears, consider getting checked by a doctor for more information about what might be going on inside your head.

If you have jaw pain, look at the most common causes but do reach out to a dental professional if the cause is not clear.

If you have jaw pain, look at the most common causes but do reach out to a dental professional if the cause is not clear. At Marx Dental, we specialize in treating the most common causes of jaw pain including TMJ, grinding, tooth aches, and wisdom teeth. If you’d like to learn more about our available treatments, give us a call today.

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