The jaw joint hurts

A common problem that affects patients of all ages is the occurrence of pain in the jaw joint when chewing and opening the mouth. Sometimes it is felt on one (left or right) side, in other cases – on both. Soreness can give to the facial muscles, chin, cheekbones and neck, be aching or sharp. Even a child may complain that his jaw joint hurts. Sometimes this happens if he opens a bottle with his teeth or clicks nuts.

The lesions may be one or more articular joints: maxillofacial, maxillary, temporomandibular. One way or another, the patient has the goal to find out what sign of pathology are the symptoms in question. He needs to undergo an examination in order to quickly diagnose a pathology and select the optimal treatment regimen. Trying to be cured at home by folk remedies and refusing to see a doctor, the patient only exacerbates the symptoms that torment him.

Localization of the temporal articular joint relative to the jaw and destruction of cartilage tissue with arthrosis

Causes of pain

The causes of pain in the lower jaw and joints in their genesis can be divided into several categories:

  1. Associated with pathologies (degenerative or inflammatory) of cartilage of articular joints.
  2. Diseases and phenomena that are not related to the joints, such as bruxism, runny nose, tumors, teething wisdom, wearing braces.
  3. Shocks and other traumatic injuries of bones and joints.
  4. Incorrect handling of the jaw by the patient – opening bottle caps, abuse of chewing gum and more.
Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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Joint diseases

Diseases of the jaw can occur as a result of the inflammatory process, which is most often caused by an infectious agent that enters the cartilage of the joint pads with blood flow or through an open wound.

The most common articular pathologies are:

  • ankylosis – bone fusion, provoking immobility;
  • arthrosis is a degenerative disease;
  • arthritis – inflammation of the joint;
  • neuralgic disorders;
  • osteomyelitis.

Problem areas of the mandibular joint

Osteomyelitis of the lower jaw

This is one of the varieties of inflammatory diseases of the jaw. Its initiator is an infection that seeps into the bone tissue of the jaw through carious teeth. The standard symptoms are:

  • Hyperplasia of the cervical lymph nodes.
  • Pain in the VPN, the bones of both jaws – often on both sides, but possible with only one.
  • Toothache.
  • Hyperthermia, febrile symptoms.
  • An obvious increase in the markers of inflammation, observed when a patient with osteomyelitis is sent for a blood test.

The patient needs to visit the dentist. He will have the removal of diseased teeth and sanitize the oral cavity. If the patient has purulent formations, they are excised surgically.

Dislocation of the jaw joint

Joint Dysfunction Syndrome and Neuralgia

This syndrome is associated with intense tension in the mandibular joint. Symptoms traditional for him:

  • pain during chewing food;
  • clicks or grinding sounds of a moving jaw.

Also characteristic pain occurs with neuralgia affecting the glossopharyngeal nerve. Their characteristic manifestation is the intensification of pain when feeling the affected area.

The treatment of these pathologies includes:

  • taking analgesic drugs;
  • creating rest for a sore jaw;
  • injections of drugs that lower muscle tone;
  • the use of cooling dressings.

Arthritis of the temporomandibular joint

This is an inflammatory process of the elements of the joint, affecting, as a rule, cartilage pads and synovial fluid. Sometimes inflammation can spread to neighboring soft tissues. The disease is about one sixth of all cases of violation of the functions of the TMF. The disease, especially in an acute form, manifests itself as a vivid clinical symptomatology and, without proper prompt treatment, results in very unpleasant consequences: cartilage disruption, its replacement by connective tissue formations, ankylosis, deforming osteoarthritis. The causes of the development of the disease:

  • Most often, inflammation is caused by an infectious agent that enters the body through damage to the skin or penetrates the joint tissue with blood.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with immune system dysfunctions. Often against his background, acquired heart defects develop.
  • Also, the disease can develop after an injury.
  • Reactive arthritis against a background of viral infection.

The symptoms of arthritis are very recognizable:

  • sharp pains, aggravated by moving the jaw and opening the mouth;
  • swelling;
  • the occurrence of fever.

Osteoarthrosis and dislocation of the lower jaw

This pathology is rooted in the destruction of articular cartilage tissue. Its pads are abraded, the gap between the pineal glands is narrowed, the bones begin to rub against each other, which creates a characteristic crunch when moving the joint. The pain aching, not acute, manifests itself during movements (talking, chewing). Chewing muscles can also hurt. The volume of mobility narrows (it is more difficult to open the mouth or drive the jaw from side to side), which is especially pronounced after sleep. With advanced stages, asymmetry of the face is also observed.

Pathology of the temporomandibular joint

These include neuralgic pathologies:

  1. The trigeminal nerve – the jaw will always hurt from only one affected side.
  2. Upper laryngeal nerve. The pain occurs when yawning, blowing your nose, eating, may be accompanied by hiccups or coughing.
  3. Glossopharyngeal – short bouts of pain in the tongue that can pass to the jaw, face, or chest. End with abundant salivation.

Bone fracture and its types

Fractures occur due to mechanical trauma caused by an external factor. The consequences of the lack of treatment in this case may be tooth loss, headaches, jaw deformation, problems with the innervation of certain sites. Fractures can be fragmented, closed and open. What to do if the patient received an injury of this kind:

  1. Call an ambulance.
  2. Waiting for an ambulance, provide jaw rest, fix the maxillofacial joint with a bandage.

The patient will be delivered to the clinic, where he will be examined, they will determine the type of surgical intervention required and organize therapeutic measures that contribute to the elimination of unpleasant sensations (certain pills and injections).


Incorrect closure of the teeth can also cause pain in the jaw. Such a patient needs to visit an orthodontist who will prescribe a case-relevant treatment.

Tooth jaw injury

Wearing braces and removable dentures

Oddly enough, pain when wearing braces is a positive sign that the teeth move so as to form the correct bite. When wearing removable dentures, this symptom is the norm at the initial stage of addiction, but if it lasts a long time, you need to visit a doctor.

Wisdom tooth growth

Since the jaw contracts somewhat with age, teething is sometimes associated with pain and swelling of the cheek and gums. In this case, it is important to take an anesthetic and visit the dentist.

Inflammatory processes

In addition to the previously mentioned osteomyelitis, this includes:

  • Boils are pustular formations on the skin that are dangerous for penetration of infection and purulent masses into the cranial cavities.
  • Phlegmon – soft tissue lesions. Not only the jaw can hurt, but the space under it. Also associated with swelling and hyperthermia.


The presence of a tumor in the jaw is always accompanied by severe pain. Several types of tumors characteristic of this organ are distinguished. Benign:

  1. Osteoid osteoma. For a long time, any symptomatology does not make itself felt, but at the mature stages of the patient, sharp pains torment at night, and also asymmetry of the face occurs.
  2. Adamantioma – jaw hyperplasia. Pain aggravates with food.
  3. Osteoblastoclastoma. Here, jaw tenderness is the earliest symptom, and later – trophic changes in the gums and soft tissues of the face.
  1. Sarcoma – damage to areas of connective tissue with progressively increasing shooting pain.
  2. The osteogenic version of sarcoma is bone cancer. On palpation, the pain diffuses to other parts of the face.

What to do with joint pain?

When the patient is contacted, the doctor examines the jaws and takes functional tests. Next, the patient is sent to instrumental examinations: magnetic resonance imaging and x-ray of the jaw. If an inflammatory process is suspected, a general blood test is also prescribed. The treatment program is based on the results of the analysis. Having correctly determined the cause of the pathology that has arisen, it is possible to restore the functionality of the jaw in a short time and avoid serious complications.

Why the jaw joint hurts and what to do with it

Do not wonder why the jaw joint hurts. It is important to know what to do – consult a doctor with a problem. This will allow for appropriate action. Pain in the jaw joint can occur for various reasons, the most common of which are discussed below.

The jaw joint consists of 2 parts: the lower jaw and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is a movable joint between the temporal lobes and the lower jaw.

When joints in the jaw hurt, a person feels great discomfort when pronouncing words or chewing. The causes of the disease may be as follows.


It occurs in the mandibular joint due to mechanical stress (shock, fall damage and other injuries). Symptoms of a fracture manifest as severe pain at the fracture site. The patient cannot speak, swallow or chew. Soreness increases sharply when touching a sore spot, talking, moving.

Often with fractures in patients, the tongue sinks. In the absence of timely therapy, a shift in the dentition occurs. The lower jaw moves forward or backward relative to the upper. Sometimes a shift from top to bottom is recorded.

The consequence of the fracture is the patient’s increased irritability, his complaints of dizziness, weakness throughout the body.

Treatment of a jaw fracture begins with fixation of the mandibular joint with a tight bandage. If there is a need, then it is necessary to fix the language of the patient. After examining the patient with an X-ray, the doctor determines the type of fracture (open, closed, fragment or single).

The patient is provided with the necessary peace, and then a surgical operation is performed. It is aimed at removing fragments, fixing bones in the position necessary for normal fusion. Doctors restore a normal bite in a patient. If you do not provide qualified assistance to the patient on time, then the result of the fracture will be complete deformation of the dentition, loosening, and then tooth loss at the fracture site.


The situation when a joint in the jaw hurts is found in an acute inflammatory process. Such a lesion, called osteomyelitis, is most often caused by advanced dental diseases or infection that has got into the tissues.

Symptoms of osteomyelitis are manifested in severe pain syndrome. A person complains not only of a pain in the tooth, almost his entire jaw hurts. Often, in such patients, the temperature rises to 38–39 ° C, and sometimes even higher. Doctors fix a sharp increase in lymph nodes on the patient’s neck.

The inflammatory process can also be detected with a blood test. If the treatment process is not started in time, then osteomyelitis can lead to abscess or to the development of sepsis.

Treatment of osteomyelitis begins with the removal of a diseased tooth. After that, doctors conduct a complete sanitation of the oral cavity to remove the infectious focus. For this, various antibacterial medicines are used. If a complication begins, then the doctors make an incision in the suppuration zone, and then remove the purulent formations. After that, the patient is prescribed antibacterial agents or antibiotics to prevent relapse.

Dysfunction syndrome

The jaw joint hurts when chewing if a person has developed dysfunction syndrome on the temporomandibular joint. This is characteristic of people who strain their jaws, for example, tightly compressing them during sleep. The syndrome may occur due to stressful situations or bruxism.

Symptoms of dysfunction in the temporomandibular region are manifested in the form of severe pain when chewing, and a person clearly hears various sounds, for example, clicks, rattle, or clattering when moving with jaws. These noises indicate some displacement of the bones in relation to the joint disk.

Doctors begin treatment by removing the tone of muscle structures. To eliminate muscle cramps, it is recommended that the patient is completely at rest. Cold compresses are given to him and painkillers are given.

Cranial Neuralgia

It develops with inflammation of the nerves of the skull. A sign of neuralgia is severe pain that has a pulling character.

If the disease has affected the glossopharyngeal nerve, then the pain syndrome manifests itself in the lower jaw. Soreness affects vast areas. The left or right side of the head may hurt, and the pain captures the space from the chin to the temples. On palpation, the patient complains of a sharp increase in pain.

In the treatment of neuralgia, medications of the appropriate profile are prescribed. If necessary, the doctor can conduct local anesthesia for the patient.

Jaw arthritis

Arthritis of various etiologies most often affects the jaw zones. They are divided into traumatic, rheumatoid and purulent lesions:

  1. A traumatic type of arthritis develops with hemorrhage during mechanical damage to the jaw or the entire face, dislocation of the jaw joint.
  2. The rheumato >

Signs of purulent arthritis are the general weakness of the patient, his temperature rises to 37–38 ° C. The joint turns red, thickens and swells at the site of a purulent lesion. Noise may appear in the form of clicks, crunching, rustling. Some patients with purulent arthritis have problems with jaw movement in the morning. In some cases, complete immobility of this organ develops.

Treatment of purulent arthritis begins with the appointment of antibacterial drugs. The patient is provided with rest of the jaw structures during the course of therapy. With complications, doctors eliminate suppuration by opening a purulent focus. Then, the mandibular joint is treated from the inside using various antiseptics.

Rheumatoid arthritis is manifested in soreness of the jaw, passing to the ear, tongue or temples. It is difficult for a patient with such a disease to move his jaw in the morning. Masticatory function may be impaired. After this, the articular head on the lower jaw can be destroyed. This leads to its fusion with the temporal bone, which greatly limits the opening of the oral cavity.

With rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment course includes electrophoresis sessions, gymnastics. The patient is prescribed restrictions on the movement of the sick body for the period of rehabilitation measures.

Treating traumatic arthritis is similar to other types of this disease.


Osteoarthrosis appears due to worn jaw joints. Most often they suffer from people older than 50 years. But this disease may occur earlier due to poor-quality denture or arthritis.

The jaw joint hurts: find out the cause and eliminate

Pain in the jaw area causes a large number of causes. Do not postpone a visit to the doctor or wait for it to pass on its own. It is recommended to visit a specialist as soon as possible. This is a serious symptom requiring compulsory treatment, and in advanced cases, surgical intervention.

Causes of pain

Why does the jaw joint hurt? Pain can trigger various factors.


The temporomandibular joint hurts due to trauma. In most cases, a malocclusion leads to trauma to the jaw joint. Also, pain can appear if:

  • there was a bruise in the jaw area with the appearance of hematomas;
  • fracture of the jaw, which causes acute pain in a person with the inability to move the jaw;
  • dislocation, which is accompanied by pain during opening or closing the mouth.

TMJ Pain Dysfunction Syndrome

The full name of the disease: syndrome of pain dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint. The pain appears due to a violation of symmetry. In one of the joints, deformation occurs and, as a consequence, a displacement of the jaw. Untimely treatment leads to asymmetry and impaired jaw movement in other directions. Pain dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint appears due to:

  • muscle strain;
  • solid food abuse;
  • malocclusion;
  • high abrasion of dental tissue;
  • trauma;
  • mistakes of doctors when prosthetics or dental fillings;
  • myositis;
  • contracture;
  • myalgia.


The temporomandibular joint hurts due to osteoarthrosis. The disease is diagnosed in the elderly, when there is deterioration of the joints of the jaw. Arthritis or a poor-quality denture can provoke osteoarthrosis. In a person at the initial stage of an ailment, when the jaw moves, clicks or a small crunch are observed. There is stiffness in the morning. After 6 months, the disease covers the entire joint, causing frequent headaches, soreness in the eyes, tingling and slight numbness of the skin, a significant decrease in hearing.


The disease provokes a purulent inflammatory process that occurs in the TMJ. Of course, the jaw joint hurts. Most often, the cause of the disease is pulpitis or caries, when there are infectious foci in diseased teeth. The person has swelling, severe pain, inflammation on the neck of the lymph nodes. There is a toothache that radiates to the entire jaw. With osteomyelitis, immediate medical attention is necessary, because there is a high risk of developing an abscess and sepsis. The doctor performs the removal of a diseased tooth and prescribes a course of antibacterial drugs.

Read more about this disease, its treatment and prevention in our article.


Chewing pain in the jaw joint can occur due to arthritis. Arthritis of the jaw joint is divided into several types:

  • traumatic, which is characterized by mechanical damage;
  • rheumato />


If the maxillofacial joint hurts, then more often it happens arthrosis. There is a defeat of the TMJ, which is characterized by severe, aching pain. Osteoarthritis also has the following symptoms:

  • when moving with jaws, a crunch is heard;
  • when chewing food, severe pain is felt;
  • a man complains of stiffness in the morning in the jaw area.

Diseases of the blood vessels and nerves

Pain in the temporomandibular joint appears due to impaired quality functioning of the peripheral nerves and blood vessels in the jaw. For this reason, pain occurs during the movement of the mouth. Pain gives into the larynx, tongue, throat.


With a fall, shock and other injuries, a jaw fracture can occur and, as a result, the jaw joints then hurt. The main symptom is severe pain, inability to move the jaw, speak and chew food. With a fracture, tongue retraction is possible. If you do not start timely treatment, there is a risk of displacement of the dentition. In case of trauma, a surgical operation is performed, fixing the bones in a normal state.

Cranial Neuralgia

When the maxillary joint or lower joint hurts, this signals neuralgia as well. The appearance of the disease provokes inflammatory processes in the nerves of the cranium. The disease is characterized by severe jerking pain, the localization of which is the lower jaw, glossopharyngeal nerve, the area from the chin to the temples.


If the joints of the jaw hurt, then it is possible that something presses on them. Benign tumors can provoke pain:

  • osteoblastoclastoma;
  • adamantinoma;
  • osteoma.


With painful TMJs, the main additional symptoms that indicate the disease are distinguished:

  • crunch;
  • clicks
  • gnashing of teeth;
  • jaw displacement;
  • pain in the ears, in the neck, in the muscles of the face;
  • dizziness;
  • hearing problems;
  • visual impairment;
  • disorientation in space.


In the case when the mandibular joint hurts, look for the cause and treat it, not a symptom. Before prescribing treatment, the doctor conducts diagnostic procedures:

  1. general blood and urine analysis;
  2. test for urea and protein;
  3. CT scan;
  4. X-ray;
  5. MRI;
  6. arthroscopy;
  7. diagnosis of synovial fluid.

Jaw joint pain: treatment

Each cause must be treated individually. Here is an example of the most common cause of pain in the jaw joint – dysfunction. With TMJ dysfunction, the doctor prescribes a comprehensive treatment consisting of the following steps:

  1. Immobilization. When injuring the jaw, the doctor restores the dislocation or immobilization of the jaw in case of suspicion of a patient with a fracture.
  2. Drug therapy. The doctor selects a complex of medications for the patient.
  • Analgesics: Paracetamol, Nurofen, Spazmalgon.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: Nimesil, Diclofenac, Prednisolone.
  • Antibacterial drugs: Tetracycline, Amoxicycline.
  • Antifungal agents: Fluconazole, Nystatin.
  • Cytostatics: Sulfasazalin, Methotrexate.

In advanced cases, when the pain in the joint of the jaw is something very serious, resort to surgery. It is necessary for fractures, if there is a displacement of the jaw, multiple fragments are revealed, with purulent arthritis.


The following preventive measures are recommended:

  • timely treat viral and infectious diseases;
  • visit the ENT doctor once a year;
  • regularly examined by the dentist;
  • timely diagnosis of injuries to the jaw;
  • Doctors must carefully examine the condition of the patient’s teeth before prosthetics or before performing restoration work in the oral cavity.


This video will tell you how to eliminate the pain of dysfunction by correcting the bones of the skull.

If the jaw joint hurts, do not delay with visiting a doctor. Untimely treatment leads to serious complications. It is forbidden to self-medicate. Only a doctor can make a diagnosis and choose the appropriate treatment.

The jaw joint hurts

When the jaw joint hurts, this may indicate traumatic injuries, the formation of tumors, infectious or degenerative diseases. The condition is accompanied by pain when chewing, pain when pressed, swelling. At the first symptoms, you should consult a doctor who will establish why the pain has occurred, prescribe surgical or conservative treatment, and give preventive recommendations.

Causes and symptoms of pain in the jaw


The main types of injuries of the jaw joint are a bruise, in which soft tissue is squeezed, dislocation when bone joints are displaced from the articular cavity and a fracture characterized by a violation of the integrity of the bone. The pain in the jaw joint when chewing is intense, aching, it hurts to open the mouth when yawning or eating, swelling, hematoma appears. If the joint is completely out of the joint bag, deformation is observed, the mouth is unnaturally open. Causes of lower jaw injuries:

  • direct hit with a heavy object;
  • the habit of opening your mouth wide while yawning;
  • the use of the mandibular joint and teeth for chopping nuts.

Injuries to the jaw can lead to a deterioration in the functions of the structures of the nose and eyes, so the treatment of even minor injuries is required.

Benign tumors

The following types of neoplasms are considered the most common:

  • Osteoma. It is characterized by proliferation of bone tissue. There is moderate pain in the temporomandibular joint, a moderate displacement to the side, discomfort, crepitus when trying to open or close the mouth.
  • Chondroma. Formed from cartilage tissue. It develops asymptomatically for a long time. Later there is pain in the lower jaw, jerking displacement of the joint to the sides, characteristic clicks.
  • Ameloblastoma. It is formed from the remnants of the epithelium or undeveloped tooth germ. There is an asymmetry of the face, pain, crunch, tuberosity of the affected bone zone, loosening of the dentition.
  • Osteoblastoclastoma. It is localized inside the bone and is formed from osteoblasts or osteoclasts. The disease is manifested by asymmetry on the face, pain, inflammation of the surrounding tissues, may be accompanied by the appearance of fistulas or sores.

The formation of benign tumors is preceded by the following factors:

  • trauma;
  • the ingress of foreign bodies into the tissues of the jaw;
  • infection of the wound during dental procedures;
  • pathological proliferation of surrounding tissues;
  • chronic inflammation of the structures of the oral cavity.

Jaw disease

Joint inflammation

Mandibular arthritis most often has an infectious etiology. The left or right side is affected. With this ailment, the entire jaw hurts and hurts, soreness radiates to the temple or ear, redness, swelling appears, the dentition does not close, there is difficulty in opening the mouth, the temperature rises, the jaw muscles weaken. The main causes of arthritis:

  • acute or chronic disease of ENT organs: tonsillitis, otitis media, sinusitis;
  • infection during dental procedures;
  • accumulation of sodium urate salts;
  • autoimmune failure;
  • hormonal dysfunction;
  • trauma;
  • severe infectious ailments: scarlet fever, measles, syphilis, tuberculosis;
  • inflammation of the salivary glands.


With this disease, a purulent-inflammatory process occurs in the jaw, which covers the bone, bone marrow and periosteum. Swelling of the lower jaw is observed, it is swollen, the mouth does not open, the head hurts, the temperature rises, teeth are loosened, abscesses and fistulas form, from which pus is secreted. Etiological factors of the disease:

  • ignoring the treatment of dental diseases – pulpitis, caries, periodontitis;
  • trauma;
  • drug use;
  • non-compliance with the rules of the rehabilitation of the oral cavity after dental treatment;
  • infection through micro-wounds by pathogenic microorganisms – proteins, staphylococcus, streptococcus, Escherichia coli or Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Deforming arthrosis

Pain in the joint of the jaw occurs due to thinning and destruction of the cartilage. As a result of friction, the surfaces of the movable joints become rough and symptoms such as difficulty in moving the jaws, crepitus, numbness, the face become asymmetrical, osteophytes form, the joint aches and pulls. The disease develops due to factors such as:

  • lack of several teeth and displacement of the dentition;
  • trauma;
  • incorrectly performed operations;
  • endocrine diseases;
  • infection.

Jaw bursitis

The disease is characterized by inflammation of the bags of the joint and the accumulation of fluid in them. There is pain in the upper jaw or lower, edema, local hyperemia and hyperthermia, limited mobility. The disease occurs if the joint is bloated, as well as due to such reasons:

  • accumulation of calcium in ligaments and tendons;
  • trauma;
  • infectious and inflammatory processes;
  • unnatural load on the movable connection.

Diagnostic measures

If the jaw hurts left or right, you should go to the maxillofacial surgeon. The doctor conducts a visual examination, studies the anamnesis, evaluates the motor function and condition of the teeth. To make a diagnosis, it is recommended to undergo diagnostic procedures, such as:

  • radiography;
  • orthopantomography;
  • rhinoscopy;
  • pharyngoscopy;
  • scintigraphy;
  • joint fluid puncture;
  • Ultrasound of the jaw;
  • magnetic resonance or computed tomography;
  • back sowing of purulent discharge;
  • general urine and blood tests;
  • ELISA and PCR studies.

How is the treatment carried out?

The treatment regimen is determined by the doctor; self-medication is prohibited. Infectious diseases of the diseased jaw can be cured by antibiotic therapy after the identification of the pathogen variety. Bruises are recommended to be lubricated with painkillers and anti-inflammatory liniment, such as:

Dislocations and fractures are treated by surgery – osteosynthesis.

Dislocations and fractures can be cured by replacing the articular heads or broken jaw bones. In this case, immobilization is carried out, and if necessary, surgical intervention – osteosynthesis. The operation is also recommended for purulent-inflammatory processes, during which foci of necrosis and pus are excised, drainage and rehabilitation of the wound are performed. Gymnastics will help relieve pain, which includes rehabilitation exercises: pushing the jaw forward, moving to the sides, closing and opening the mouth.


To prevent jaw pathologies, regular preventive examinations by the dentist are recommended. If damage to dental structures or gum disease is detected, treatment should be taken in a timely manner. All infectious foci in the body must be treated. The absence of incisors, fangs or molars must be compensated by dentures so that the dentition does not move. And also it is necessary to correct the wrong bite with the help of orthodontic appliances. Strengthening exercises are recommended to strengthen the muscles and ligaments of the jaw.

Find out why there is pain in the jaw joint

Pain or discomfort does not appear for no reason and does not pass on its own. Often, discomfort occurs against a background of impaired functioning of the joints or the spread of the inflammatory process. Lack of mobility and sharp pain can indicate the development of serious pathologies that require treatment.

Keeping of

Why jaw joint pain

The causes of pain in the jaw joint are many. Its development is most often triggered by impaired functioning of the joints or muscle tissue. Painful sensations are accompanied by a characteristic sound when chewing food or talking. When contacting a medical institution, the doctor first determines the cause of the discomfort, and then prescribes the necessary treatment.


A common cause of pain is a fracture resulting from an accident, domestic or sports injury. Lack of treatment leads to a violation of the integrity of the bone. A fracture can take several forms, for example, direct, reflected, complex, offset, multiple or single.

Indoor and outdoor are also distinguished, which can be distinguished by external signs. Painful sensations accompany edema, hemorrhage and a violation of the chewing function of the jaw.


The disease is characterized by the development of a pathological process in the joints of the jaw. Osteomyelitis has several forms: traumatic, odontogenic or hematogenous. Odontogenic manifests itself due to the penetration of bacteria into the dental canals or gingival pockets.

In the acute form of the course of the pathology, patients complain of painful sensations of a pulsating nature, which are accompanied by an increase in temperature to 40 degrees and chills.

During the examination, swelling of the soft tissues of the oral cavity, soreness of the dentition, and an increase in lymph nodes are noted. The result is an abscess and a difficult general condition of the patient.


Another reason for the appearance of pain is a dysfunction, in which the joint is not able to move, while talking or chewing, clicks occur. Disruption of the jaw joint arises as a result of malocclusion, the development of inflammation or weak chewing muscles.


The disease occurs against a background of damage to the nerve endings of the skull. With cranial neuralgia, the pain is cutting, acute and pulsating, felt in the upper jaw. Unlike many types of pain, which most often worry patients at night and in the evening, with neuralgia, it occurs during the day.

By topic

What to do if the ear hurts and gives to the jaw

  • Maria Konstantinovna Tevs
  • 5th of October 2018

Laryngeal neuralgia is also considered a common cause of pain in the jaw joint. It appears on one or immediately on both sides of the larynx, then moves to the ear, eye, chest, or shoulder. Signs of the disease are accompanied by hiccups or coughing. It appears when eating or moving your head.

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia is rarely diagnosed, but it is also the basis for the appearance of pain in the jaw joint. It can be felt in the ear, throat, eyeball. The pain is shooting in nature, accompanied by dry mouth and cough. The attack lasts for three minutes.


Arteritis in the artery is a common cause of pain in the lower jaw. The disease is characterized by acute pain in the lower part of the face. An effective diagnostic method is contrast radiography, due to which it is possible to detect the location of the pathological process.


The pathology is paroxysmal in nature and lasts about two hours. Pain can be felt in the neck, teeth and one ear. The disease is considered one of the types of migraine, and the symptoms resemble arteritis or stratification of the artery.

Osteogenic sarcoma

Sarcoma is a malignant tumor that forms next to the jaw joint. Pathology is characterized by deformation and damage to cartilage, pain, loss of sensation and numbness in the lower part of the face.


Erythroalgia is characterized by the appearance of severe pain, which is felt in the back of the head and lower jaw. The main symptoms are an increase in body temperature, vasodilation of the upper layers of the skin and redness.

Clinical manifestations also resemble neuritis, hypersensitivity, damage to the thalamus and damage to the nerve endings of the cervical root. In this case, a more thorough examination is required to establish an accurate diagnosis.

Often, discomfort and pain in the lower and upper jaw are manifested as a result of odontogenic pain. Pathology develops against the background of inflammation in the pulp, caries, or periodontal abscess.

Unpleasant sensations occur at night in the root of the molar, and then moves to the jaw. In certain cases, pain appears after operations on the face. It is accompanied by a violation of sensitivity and difficulty in chewing food.

clinical picture

In the jaw joint there are no nerve endings, and various disorders of its performance are manifested in the form of:

  1. Painful sensations in the ear area when pressed.
  2. Pain in neck giving to temple, head or ear.
  3. Headaches caused by spasm of muscle tissue. It appears in the region of the temples, the occipital part and passes to the shoulder blades.
  4. Crunching or clicking in the joint when talking, yawning, chewing food and other movements. In some cases, they may be accompanied by aching pain in the lobe.
  5. Hearing impairment. The inflammatory process can affect the organs of hearing, as the jaw joint is in close proximity.
  6. Pain during chewing, which is localized on one side.
  7. Decreased range of motion.
  8. Restrictions on motor activity. Patients often complain of difficulty opening their mouths.
  9. Stiff joints in the morning.
  10. Constant pain, aggravated by chewing food or talking.
  11. Gnashing of teeth. In medicine, this symptom is called bruxism. It can be both the cause of pain and its consequence.
  12. Displacement or zigzag movements of the lower jaw in one direction during opening the mouth.

As a result of the fact that discomfort in the jaw joint is characterized by many different symptoms that are also characteristic of many diseases, the diagnosis is complicated. That is why when visiting a doctor, it is necessary to indicate all available manifestations as fully and as accurately as possible.


The dentist first of all conducts an examination of the patient and studies the anamnesis. On palpation, discomfort, pain, compaction in the joint area can be observed. The most informative diagnostic methods that allow you to accurately establish and confirm a preliminary diagnosis include:

  1. Roentgenography. There are two types: intraoral, in which the x-ray film is located in the oral cavity, and extraoral, when the film is not in the oral cavity. The first method is the most common and allows you to establish not only the presence of caries or the inflammatory process of the roots of the teeth, but also bone damage. The extraoral method is often prescribed for patients with joint pain, as the main focus is on the jaw and skull.
  2. CT scan. Allows you to get a three-dimensional image of the jaw, bone tissue and dentition. Thanks to this method, it is possible to establish joint destruction in the early stages and prescribe treatment.
  3. Contrast radiography. The method is based on the introduction of a special contrast agent into the joint tissue, which allows to identify the cause of the violation.
  4. Magnetic resonance imaging. The method is widely used in various fields of medicine. It is carried out in case of insufficient information content of other methods of instrumental diagnosis.

In addition, the doctor may prescribe electromyography, arthroscopy or an orthopantogram. In the presence of certain concomitant diseases, consultation of specialists with experience in various fields of dentistry may be required.


Treatment of any disease that caused pain in the jaw joint should be comprehensive. The objectives of therapy are:

  1. Relief of pain.
  2. Slowing the spread of the pathological process.
  3. Restoration of motor activity of the joint.
  4. Treatment of concomitant pathologies.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

Dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in medicine is called differently: myofacial syndrome, chronic subluxation of the lower jaw, arthritis, arthrosis of the TMJ joints. Sometimes it is called Kosten syndrome by the name of an otolaryngologist from the United States, who was the first to investigate dysfunction of the temporomandibular joints in the early th century and found a connection with ear pains. This is one of the most difficult and painful pathologies, which is not easy to diagnose and treat.


Diagnosis of a TMJ lesion is complicated by the fact that there are a lot of symptoms in this pathology. But some of them can be called classic – those that affect the TMF joints themselves, ears, head, face and teeth. Since there are no nerve endings in the joints, when their function in this area is impaired, a person does not experience pain. It occurs in the ears, in the neck, head, or in trigger points, which are seals in the muscles (chewing, temporal, hyoid, temporal, cervical) – pain is felt when pressure is applied to them. In this case, there is a noise in the ears, a crunch in the joints when opening the mouth.

The most common symptom is clicking in the joint of the lower jaw, and not always accompanied by pain. The sound made by the jaw can be heard by others. If the jaw clicks, it means that the disc is displaced and the muscles supporting the lower jaw while chewing food are unnaturally tense. The result of this tension is pain in the muscles, face, head and neck.

Blocking, or locking the TMJ is a condition in which the joint moves unevenly due to violations that occurred in it. A person notices that the lower jaw opens unevenly, as if catching something. And in order to open your mouth wide, you first need to move the lower jaw to one side, then to the other side, sometimes you have to do this until you hear a click at the point of its “unlocking”.

Due to the proximity of the TMJ to the auricles, its damage often causes pain in the ear, its congestion, up to hearing loss. Tinnitus can cause both disturbances in the joint and the fight against pain with drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen).

Headache is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ pathology. Usually it is concentrated in the temples, nape and even the shoulders (shoulder blades). Jaw clenching and gnashing of teeth (bruxism), which can also be symptoms of a TMJ pathology, cause muscle pain, which causes headaches. A displaced TMJ disc can also cause joint pain, which often radiates to the temples, forehead or neck. Moreover, these pains are so severe that doctors often confuse them with migraines or with brain pathologies.

Due to bruxism, which can be both a cause and a consequence of a TMJ lesion, teeth can become very sensitive. At the same time, the dentist cannot find the reasons for this sensitivity and is forced to depulpate his teeth, and in some cases to remove, to relieve his patient of pain. But it, on the contrary, is amplified.

Back pain due to increased muscle tension (myofascial pain syndrome), dizziness, disorientation, confusion, depression and, in its background, sleep disturbance may be associated with TMJ pathology. It is also possible the development of photophobia (increased sensitivity to light), the occurrence of pain in the eye, blurred vision and twitching of the eye muscles.


TMJ is a joint located in front of the ear, consisting of the temporal bone and lower jaw. Muscles that perform the function of chewing, swallowing, and speech connect the lower jaw to the skull. It is this apparatus that allows our jaw to move left and right, open and close our mouth, and extend the lower jaw. It works correctly when the lower jaw moves synchronously in the joint, both on the right and on the left – it is a symmetrical organ, therefore, in the event of a malfunction of one of them, the work of the second also fails. TMJ diseases develop when the lower jaw moves during the opening and closing of the mouth and other movements of the lower jaw.

Dysfunction occurs in all age groups, and in general people suffering from this pathology, according to various estimates, up to 70 percent. Among the causes of its occurrence are malocclusion, a sharp overstrain of the masticatory muscles when chewing hard and rough foods, improper dental treatment (tooth fillings, prosthetics), bruxism and increased tooth abrasion, sports loads that lead to overstrain of certain muscle groups.

Often, the cause of the development of dysfunction of the TMJ joints is stress, as well as improper dental treatment, more precisely, the mistakes of orthopedic dentists, orthodontists, therapists, and surgeons: even the treatment of simple caries can lead to dysfunction of the mandibular joint if the dentist put an overestimated filling, which violated the symmetry and led to unilateral loads, and then to displacement of the disks, and with it to pain. The causes of this disease can also be trauma to the joints, abrasion of the teeth with bruxism, excessive stress during sports.

First aid

If you are sure that the pain you are experiencing is associated with dysfunction of the mandibular joint, then in order to improve chewing function and reduce pain, you can use moist heat: you need to apply a compress to the sore spot – a hot water bottle can perform its function, wrapped in a warm, damp towel to avoid burns.

Ice will help reduce inflammation and dull the pain. But an ice pack (or a plastic bottle with ice) can not be put directly on the skin, it is better to wrap it with a cloth. Remember that you can not use ice for more than 10-15 minutes, the break between installing compresses should be at least an hour.

Analgesics will help temporarily reduce pain.

Soft (can be grated) or mixed food gives the jaw an opportunity to relax. Avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy foods. Do not try to open your mouth as wide as possible by biting off large pieces.

Master the relaxation techniques that are convenient for you: relaxation helps to cope with the pain accompanying TMJ dysfunction.


It is difficult not only to dentists, but also doctors of other specialties to diagnose TMJ dysfunction, so it often turns out that the disease is detected late and the treatment is long and difficult. Radiography (including an orthopantomogram), electromyography, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), arthroscopy are used to diagnose TMJ syndrome. In order to make a correct diagnosis, it is important to consult specialists of different directions in dentistry.


Due to the fact that joint dysfunction is difficult to diagnose, even dentists are not very familiar with this pathology and treatment methods. Therefore, the majority of patients do not receive qualified timely care and go to osteopaths, chiropractors, otolaryngologists, therapists, neurologists, psychotherapists . In fact, dentists should treat TMJ diseases, depending on the cause of this condition.

To achieve success in therapy, a set of measures is required: orthodontic treatment to correct the occlusion, surgery, retreatment, prosthetics, physiotherapy, acupuncture.

According to the testimony, the doctor can prescribe night-time wearing of a trainer – the articular splint, with which myofascial pain syndrome is removed. It can be used both for diagnosis and to prevent tooth abrasion in bruxism.

It is imperative to treat TMJ dysfunction – when the disk is displaced, the articular surfaces undergo rearrangement (arthrosis), coarse connective tissue grows in the joint cavity, which leads to joint immobilization – ankylosis.


Prevention is the timely and high-quality treatment and prosthetics of the teeth, correction of the bite, timely access to the doctor for help after an injury.

Morozov Georgiy

Georgy Morozov, rheumatologist. For more than 20 years, he has been involved in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of joint diseases.