Jaw and Facial Pain

Jaw and Facial Pain

Oct 14, 2013

It is not uncommon for adults to report chronic jaw and facial pain. If you are having symptoms then it is important to alert your dentist so that he can perform a thorough exam.  X-rays may be taken to help your dentist identify the cause of your discomfort.


There are several symptoms associated with discomfort in the jaw and face. Patients may describe:

  • Difficulty biting
  • Tenderness in the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Ear pressure


There are many conditions associated with jaw and facial discomfort. Two common conditions are an abscessed tooth or a TMJ disorder. Dentists trained in oral and maxillofacial surgery can treat you for both of these situations after making a diagnosis.

Abscessed Tooth

If you have an abscessed tooth then your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic so that the infection does not spread. You may also need a root canal to clean the area, in which case a crown will be placed over the tooth afterwards. There are times when an extraction is necessary to drain the socket. Then a bridge will be placed over the area for cosmetic purposes.

TMJ Disorder

There is a small joint right in front of your ear where your skull and lower jaw connect, called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). You use this joint constantly throughout the day as it makes it possible for you to open and close your mouth. The movable part of the joint is called the condyle. The socket is called the articular fossa. Between the two parts is a disk made up of cartilage which cushions the joint. When the disk becomes displaced it can be very uncomfortable.

If you have a TMJ disorder then you may here popping sounds when you open and close your mouth in addition to discomfort. Disorders can be caused by arthritis, stress resulting in teeth grinding, or an injury to the disk. There are a variety of treatments available, depending on the severity of the problem. TMJ treatments can include muscle relaxants, a mouth protector, stress management counseling, and surgery to repair damaged joints and tissue. Contact our dentist today to learn more about tmj treatment.

There are other conditions responsible for jaw and facial pain, including sinusitis, facial injury, and a nerve condition called trigeminal neuralgia. No matter what is causing your discomfort, sharing your symptoms with your dentist is the quickest way to get relief.

Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporomandibular_joint_dysfunction

Original Source: https://www.craigarmstrongdds.com/oral-surgery/jaw-facial-pain