Do you experience a popping or a dull ache along your jawline when you yawn or chew food? You could have an issue with your temporomandibular joint, sometimes referred to as the TMJ. There are several causes of jaw pain, and pain in lower jaw and teeth can be associated with an injury, dental problems, and even the serious health issue of a heart attack. TMJ lower jaw pain, or with lower jaw pain right side, should be taken seriously and may be treated with a few simple home remedies.
The jawbone can be referred to as the mandible, and forms the jaw joint (TMJ) with the maxilla bone, which is just above the mouth. This is how we are able to open and close our mouth. Damage to any of the bones, tendons, or muscles of the joint region can result in various symptoms, depending on the cause.
Lower Jaw Pain Causes (Mandible)
1. Dental Concerns
One of the most common causes stems from dental problems within our mouth. This can be a result of infection, abscesses, cavities and broken teeth. Tooth decay is usually the first step in severe dental problems, as the hard enamel of a tooth can wear down, causing air pockets around the tooth. From this, any food particles or bacteria entering the mouth can be trapped, causing an infection to develop. A dull ache can quickly turn into excruciating pain along the jawline.
An impacted tooth occurs when a molar, such as a wisdom tooth, appears long after the permanent teeth are in place. With little room to grow, a tooth can become impacted and cause severe pain near the jawline. Other symptoms include bleeding, swelling, pain of the gumline, facial swelling along the jawline, bad breath, or a headache.
A broken tooth may also affect the lower jaw and will radiate pain along the gumline and jawline. Abscess refers to the collection of pus and swelling of tissue around a tooth from tooth decay or a broken tooth. It can be very painful and show as a bump with redness, or may present with little pain and no visible signs.
2. Bone Issues
A fractured jaw has been described as one of the worst pains to experience. It can happen as a result of a fall, auto accident, physical assault, or playing a contact sport. Symptoms include pain exacerbated with jaw movement, bleeding, swelling, sensitivity touching the site, or a deformity of the face surface.
Dislocated jaw bones occur when the lower jaw bone is forced from its resting place by a blunt force or a health condition. Sometimes it will return to its proper place without any treatment. This is when you may hear a loud clicking or popping sound, as well as have tenderness to the touch, pain, or a facial deformity.
Cancer of the lower jaw bone can be present on its own, or have been spread from another region of the body. It can present with jaw pain, swelling, bumps, or movement of the teeth.
3. Heart Condition
Jaw pain can be a symptom of angina pectoris or a myocardial infarction. If you are experiencing sudden jaw pain on the left side, seek medical attention as soon as possible, as it can sometimes be a symptom of a heart attack. Other symptoms may include chest pain radiating to the left arm and jawline, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and excessive sweating.
4. Other Causes
Can sinuses cause jaw pain? Yes, they can. Lower jaw pain sinusitis can be caused by infections of the ears and sinus cavity, as well as swollen lymph nodes, arthritis, and facial nerve damage.
Treatment of Lower Jaw Pain (Mandible)
You may be able to treat or alleviate most lower jaw pain with several home remedies we have outlined below.
Use a cold compress to ease sharp, stabbing pain of the jawline. Wrap ice or a cold pack in a towel, and gently apply to affected region for 10 minutes. Repeat as needed. For dull aches, use a heating pad or a warmed cloth on the jawline for 20 minutes.
If you experience stiffness along the jawline, use a circular motion to massage the area. Open your mouth and massage the area over the TMJ. Close your mouth and repeat. Continue this same massaging motion on the inside of your mouth. Finish with a gentle rub down the muscles of your neck to release tension before it spreads to the jawline. You can do this several times throughout the day.
3. Sit Straight
Use proper posture by sitting up straight with your back supported, head level, and chin in place. If you work at a desk, use tools to hold papers and keep items close to avoid straining your head, neck, and back. Avoid using your shoulder to cradle the phone.
4. Mouth Guard
If you find yourself grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw while at rest or sleeping, use a mouth guard. You can have one designed by your dentist, or purchase one at your local sports store and form it to fit your mouth.
5. Eating Habits
Continuous issues with lower jaw pain can be alleviated by avoiding hard and chewy foods such as raw vegetables, meat, and breadsticks. Enjoy soft or liquid foods such as soups, yogurt, pasta, and smoothies. To ease pressure on the jaw, take small bites.
6. Muscle Drink
You may be able to ease jaw tension by relaxing affected muscles with a daily morning drink of orange juice, 500 milligrams of powered calcium, and 250 milligrams of powered magnesium.
7. Halt Yawns
A yawn is a contagious activity and when you have jaw pain, a yawn can be excruciating. While it is hard to stifle a yawn, try to only open mouth a bit, or try faking a cough or a sneeze.
8. Rest Jaw
By moving your jaws, you may increase the severity or length of pain along the jawline. Avoid chewing gum or on an object, sleep on your back or on the side not afflicted by pain, take breaks from sitting for prolonged periods of time, and lighten your load by carrying a light bag or purse on your shoulder.
Lower jaw pain can disrupt your daily activities, and make even the simplest task such as talking difficult. It can be a symptom of a serious health condition that may require medical attention, or result from an injury. There are ways to alleviate jaw pain during treatment and to prevent further pain from recurring with various home remedies and lifestyle changes.
“Lower Jaw Pain (Mandible) Causes and Other Symptoms,” Healthhype; http://www.healthhype.com/lower-jaw-pain-mandible-causes-and-other-symptoms.html, last accessed March 28, 2017.
“TMJ Home Remedies,” The TMJ Association Ltd., January 27, 2017; http://www.tmj.org/site/page?pageId=229, last accessed March 28, 2017.
Perkins, S., “Causes of Pain in Lower Jaw Bone,” Livestrong, March 19, 2011; http://www.livestrong.com/article/120238-causes-pain-lower-jaw-bone/, last accessed March 28, 2017.
“Jaw Pain,” MedicineNet, January 20, 2017; http://www.medicinenet.com/jaw_pain/symptoms.htm, last accessed March 28, 2017.