Jaw Pain: What You Need to Know

Jaw Pain

It’s no secret: jaw-related pain can be incredibly painful, to the point of being debilitating.

Imagine not being able to eat, talk, or even smile, because the slightest movement causes pain to radiate from your jaw.

But what is the jaw, anyway, and how can it affect your oral health so much?

The human jaw joint, which is medically referred to as the temporomandibular joint or TMJ, is made up of the bone below the mouth (the mandible, or what is commonly known as the jawbone) and the bone just above the mouth (the maxilla). The TMJ allows the upper jaw to close on the lower jaw and is one of the most frequently used joints of the body.

You use this joint whenever you talk, smile, eat, or drink. No wonder it gets so much wear and tear! This is why jaw pain is a very common issue when it comes to dental health. The jaw is a very complex structure that contains muscles, bones, and tendons working together in harmony. If even ONE of these parts are affected, it causes a “domino effect”.

Jaw pain may occur on one side or on both sides, depending upon the cause. Also depending upon the exact cause, the pain may occur when chewing or may occur at rest.

Additionally, other medical conditions not related to the TMJ may cause perceived pain in the jaw area. Did you know that you can tell when you’re about to get a heart attack from jaw pain? It’s common to experience jaw pain that’s associated with coronary artery disease (angina) or heart attack, which typically occurs in the chest but can radiate (spread) to the jaw area. Some kinds of arthritis, often osteoarthritis, can affect the TMJ and lead to pain when moving the joint. 

Sometimes, there might not even be pain, but you can experience symptoms that point to problems in your TMJ, such as:

  • a “popping” sensation whenever you open your jaw past a certain point
  • difficulty chewing
  • tenderness and aching of other areas of the face or neck


If you are feeling jaw pain, we would be happy to help you discover the causes, as well as help you treat the pain and other symptoms from this condition. We would be happy to help you find the perfect dentists that covers your needs.

Ask us how, today!