Toothache and Jaw Pain: Causes and Best Ways to Help

Toothache and jaw pain can occur due to grinding, tooth abscess, and others. There're ways to help, but don't let dental issues go for very long without treatment.

Toothache can be a real nuisance. The symptoms might be varied, depending upon the reason for the toothache and the location. You might have jaw pain with the toothache, or pain in the neck or cheek, as well as in the mouth itself. You might even feel the pain radiate further into the forehead, eyes or shoulders.

One of the most common signs is pain in the jaw, which might come and go, or be constant. The constant pain can be in one spot, or it can move around, depending upon other stimuli. Sometimes the pain can go away until something upsets the area, such as drinking a hot or cold beverage. At this point, the pain might return and stay for a while, even after you have finished eating or drinking.

What Causes Jaw Pain and Toothache?

Toothache and jaw pain can be caused by a number of reasons. For some people, the pain from even a small issue can be very severe, but for others, severe issues can lead to surprisingly little pain. It all depends upon the person, their pain tolerance, what teeth and nerves are involved, and many other factors. Here are the four common causes.

1.    Grinding

Also known as bruxism, this is a condition in which you might grind your teeth while you sleep. This pressure can be caused by anxiety, anger, depression, and many other psychological reasons. It might also be a physical reason, such as misalignment of the teeth. If you are aware of grinding your teeth, you might be able to stop it during the day – but if you do it at night, chances are that you have no idea until you wake up in the morning and your jaw hurts.

2.    Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Your wisdom teeth are those teeth at the very back of your mouth that tend to show up in your late teens or twenties, though they might not show up at all. If there isn't enough room for them to come in, they can become impacted, which means they remain underneath the jaw. This can lead to serious pain.

3.    Tooth Abscess

An infection underneath or around a tooth can lead to serious pain and pressure, and besides that, you can deal with fever and flu-like symptoms. Removal of the tooth or draining of the abscess is required, as well as a course of antibiotics.

4.    Trench Mouth

It sounds like a nasty problem, and it is – this happens when bacteria spill out into the mouth and cause ulcers around your teeth. This often leads to pain. Though it is not all that common in developed countries, it does happen.

5.    TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders, also known as temporomandibular joint disorder, are disorders of the joint of your jaw, where your upper and lower teeth are hinged together. You might experience popping in the jaw when you chew or talk, or you might even have a case of your jaw "locking" open or closed, which can cause intense pain.

6.    Arthritis

Though arthritis is most commonly found in the joints of the body, sometimes it can affect the jaw, which leads to jaw pain as well as toothache. The pain can be just as serious in the mouth as it might be in the knee or the elbow.

How to Treat Jaw Pain and Toothache

Fortunately, there are numerous ways to treat toothache and jaw pain, and many of those ways do not involve surgery or invasive dental procedures.

1.    Treatment for Jaw Pain

There are some treatments for jaw pain that might work for you from the very start.

  • Massaging the area. Simply press your fingertips against the area that hurts and move them up and down, back and forth, pressing as strongly as you are comfortable with. The more you do this, the more relief you might find.
  • Over the counter remedies. If massage doesn't work, over the counter remedies can be a great way to reduce the pain while you wait to see the dentist. Remember to relax yourself. Sometimes you can become very tense with the pain, and the more you can relax, the less that jaw pain will hurt you.
  • Hot or cold relief can also help. Something as simple as an ice pack or a hot water bottle can relieve the pain immensely and reduce swelling, which helps you tolerate it all.
  • Seek professional help. If these options don't work, turn to your dentist for professional help – for instance, someone who suffers from grinding teeth might benefit from a night guard that keeps their teeth from touching at night.

2.    Home Care Options for Toothache

Avoid very hot or cold foods, as these might make the problem worse. For home treatment options that are inexpensive, bite into a cotton ball that has been soaked in clove oil. Other treatments might include over the counter medications, such as aspirin or acetaminophen. No matter what your home treatment options are, make sure that you have scheduled an appointment with the dentist, because jaw pain and toothache might not go away on their own.

3.    Medical Treatment for Toothache

Your dentist can arrange for many various treatments to solve the problem. Pain medications and antibiotics can be good options for relieving toothache or jaw pain. For instance, draining and abscess can be cared by antibiotics to relieve the pain. Besides, filling a tooth that has a cavity can bring instant relief. Remember that there are numerous options, so don't be afraid to ask about the various treatments that might help.

Here are more home remedies to use while you wait for your appointment:

How Can You Prevent Toothache?

Prevention is definitely the way to go when it comes to jaw pain and toothache.

  • Start by making sure of good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day to make sure you get everything out from between the teeth.
  • Use mouthwash often, and eliminate sugary drinks and foods from your diet as much as you can.
  • Don't smoke, as this can make most medical issues, including dental ones, worse.

When to See Your Dentist

There are times when you should definitely see your dentist. Make that call if:

  • Your jaw pain or toothache is very severe.
  • You have fever and earache, and when you open your mouth wide, the pain intensifies.
  • The toothache lasts for longer than two days.
  • Over the counter painkillers don't work very well in controlling the pain.
  • Any signs of infection, such as pus in your mouth, bad breath odor or a bad taste, could indicate a serious problem.



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