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Knowing When Your Jaw Pain is Serious

Posted on 2/28/2017 by Dr. Ryan
A man suffering from severe jaw pain.
When you experience jaw pain, whether mild or severe, your ability to eat and speak, sometimes even move, is affected. This can make everyday tasks difficult. There are many causes of jaw pain and, when this pain can't be managed by over the counter pain relievers, requires the assistance of your dentist to pinpoint the exact one.

Jaw pain can lead to significant pain, and can also be an indication of a serious issue. But how do you know when you should seek treatment right away?

Causes of Jaw Pain

One cause of jaw pain is facial trauma. This often occurs if you have suffered a car accident, a fall or a sports injury. If you haven't gone to the ER for treatment, you may have an undiagnosed fracture or loose tooth.

An abscess can trigger pain in the jaw. When you have an infection, an abscess often forms as a way to drain pus. The sac that results causes bone loss and can also spread infection throughout your body.

A very common cause of jaw pain is temporomandibular disorder. Your temporomandibular joint is the point at which your upper and lower jaw meet, and it allows you to open your mouth and chew, among other things. Temporomandibular disorder is the result of pain in this joint, and can be caused by any number of issues, such as bruxism or arthritis.

Symptoms of Jaw Pain

Any of these issues are serious, and can lead to other issues. Symptoms of jaw pain include:

•  Difficulty/pain opening your mouth.
•  Positional pain.
•  Headache.
•  Earache.
•  Dizziness.
•  Swelling in the jaw area.
•  Popping or clicking when chewing.

Other Issues
Jaw pain can also be associated with another serious health issue that has nothing to do with your mouth at all - a heart attack. If you experience jaw pain with any of the other following issues, you should call 911 immediately:

•  Chest pain.
•  Pain that spreads to your shoulder and arm.
•  Difficulty swallowing.
•  Sweating.
•  Nausea and vomiting.

If you are experiencing jaw pain that is accompanied by other symptoms of a heart attack, do not delay in calling for an ambulance or getting to the emergency room right away.

Otherwise, if you are suffering from jaw pain that is not relieved by any method you try at home, or you suspect you are suffering from a serious oral health issue, don't hesitate to contact our office right away.


Robert Cory Ryan, DDS, MD
Mountain Oral Surgery
& Dental Implant Center

7991 Vance Drive, Suite A
Arvada CO 80003-2105
p: 720-740-0281

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"Had an overall great experience with Dr. Ryan. The staff was very courteous and professional. Most important, the work they did, (two implants, to hold lower dentures) was very secure and I'm free of the hassle and pain. I was concerned at first but he answered all my questions and the whole procedure went well. I definitely would recomend them if you need that type of work done. 2 thumbs up!"
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Mountain Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center, 7991 Vance Drive, Suite A, Arvada, Colorado 80003 | 720-740-0281 | | 12/3/2021 | Page Phrases: dental implants Arvada CO | dental implants Arvada CO |