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What can cause jaw pain?

Jaw pain can be caused result from arthritis, dislocation or injury. All of these conditions can cause pain and dysfunction. Muscles that move the joints are also subject to injury and disease. Injuries to the jaw, head or neck, and diseases such as arthritis, may also cause pain. Other factors relating to the way the upper and lower teeth fit together (the bite) may cause pain. Stress and teeth grinding are also considered as possible factors.
 
All of these problems can lead to developing TMJ disorder, or temporomandibular disorder, when the complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones do not allow for chewing, opening and closing mouth, or swallowing properly.
There can be many reasons for jaw pain. You may have something called TMJ disorder, which is the term used to describe problems with your temporomandibular joint or muscles. The TMJ is the joint that connects your jaw to the side of your head. If there are problems with the joint, muscles, nerves, or even blood vessels around the area, you could experience jaw pain. Tooth decay or an infection in your teeth or gums can also cause your jaw to ache.

Sometimes, pain in the jaw is caused by problems elsewhere in the body; this is called “referred pain.” For instance, an infection in your sinuses (the hollow areas of bone in your upper cheeks and forehead) can feel like jaw pain. Jaw pain can also be a symptom of heart attack. 
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

If you chew too much or subconsciously clench your jaws during stressful times, your jaw muscles can spasm and cause pain. Stress-induced clenching or grinding can cause slight misalignment of the jaw, leading to jaw, neck, or eye pain, as well as jackhammer-like headaches.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.