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Why Does My Jaw Hurt on One Side?

There are several potential causes of jaw pain occurring on one side of the mouth. The pain may be due to nerve problems, an injury or blood vessel issues. Sometimes, it’s the result of a dental problem, such as an abscessed tooth or cavity.

Generally, one-sided jaw pain isn’t serious. But, especially if the pain is accompanied by other symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Below, Dr. Ivan Stein of the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey discusses some of the potential causes of one-sided jaw pain and the additional symptoms to watch out for.

TMJ Disorder

TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition in which the disc that separates the bones in the joint connecting the skull to the jaw becomes damaged or misaligned. TMJ disorder is often linked to arthritis, teeth grinding, tooth damage, jaw injury or infection, and cartilage damage.

TMJ disorder usually includes the following symptoms:

• Jaw tenderness
• Ear pain
• Pain or clicking when the mouth opens
• Difficulty chewing
• Trouble moving the mouth if the joint locks


Sinusitis results from nasal cavity inflammation, and when the sinus cavities behind the cheeks become inflamed, jaw pain may result. Sinusitis tends to happen after having a cold or allergies and typically clears up on its own.

Additional symptoms of sinusitis include the following:

• Pain or pressure in the head and ears
• Trouble tasting or smelling
• Tiredness
• Nasal congestion
• Green or yellow mucus draining from the nose into the throat

Dental Issues

One-sided jaw pain can also result from oral health issues, such as the following:

• An abscessed tooth
• Cavities
• Tooth decay or gum disease
• Teeth grinding
• Misaligned or missing teeth
• Wisdom teeth growth

Jaw pain resulting from dental issues may include the following additional symptoms:

• Tooth pain
• Painful or bleeding gums
• Mouth sores
• Sensitive teeth
• Bad breath
• Dry mouth

In the event of an abscessed tooth, facial swelling and fever may also occur.

Heart Attack

In rare cases, one-sided jaw pain can be a sign of a heart attack. Heart attacks are typically accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain, tightness, or pressure in the chest and arms, heartburn or indigestion, nausea, fatigue and dizziness.

If you experience any of these symptoms in addition to pain in one side of your jaw, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Talk to an Expert

If you’re experiencing pain in one side of your jaw, you may need professional help. Call or email the office of Dr. Stein at the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey to schedule a personal consultation.

What It Means When You’re Waking up With Jaw Pain on One Side – Suburban Essex Dental

Are you concerned and wondering why you are waking up with jaw pain on one side?

It’s common to wake up with sore muscles the day after a tough workout. You might feel stiff, but there’s a clear explanation for your pain. 

When you wake up in pain but you don’t know why that’s a different story. The not-knowing is sometimes worse than the pain.  

If you’ve been waking up with jaw pain on one side, you’re probably wondering what’s going on.

The good news is, there’s a simple explanation for most types of jaw pain. Read on to learn what your jaw pain symptoms might mean and how to treat it. 

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJD) 

A common cause of jaw pain is teeth grinding, which can damage the jaw joint. It’s also part of a larger issue called TMJD.

The temporomandibular joint or TMJ is what connects your jaw to your skull. These hinge joints sit just in front of your ears. TMJDs refers to problems related to the jaw muscles, nerves, or the joint itself. 

An estimated 5 to 12% of people deal with TMJ disorders. The most common cause of TMJDs is teeth grinding, but bad posture, jaw misalignment, stress, and even gum chewing can cause it. 

If you have tooth sensitivity or you hear popping or clicking sounds when you open your mouth, your jaw pain might be from a TMJD. Luckily, TMJ therapy including bite guards and dental splints can provide relief.  

Dental Issues

Dental problems like cavities, gum disease, or damaged teeth can also cause jaw pain. An untreated cavity will eventually affect the root, which can cause radiating pain to your jaw.  

If you wake up with intense jaw pain and swelling on one side, it could be a sign of an abscess. A dental abscess happens when a tooth or an area of your gums get infected. 

If you think your jaw pain might be caused by a dental problem, make a dentist appointment right away. It’s best to deal with the problem right away, as ignoring it will only make it worse. 

Sinus Inflammation and Headaches

Sometimes jaw pain is actually a symptom of a sinus headache. Our sinuses are small pockets of air that protect us from germs by producing mucus. But, weather changes and seasonal allergies can lead to sinus inflammation. 

If you wake up congested with jaw pain on one side, it could be a sign of a cold or a sinus infection. 

When is Waking Up With Jaw Pain on One Side Dangerous?

Most of the time, jaw pain is uncomfortable but it’s not an emergency health risk.

In some serious cases, jaw pain can be a symptom of a heart attack, especially in women. This type of jaw pain usually comes along with other symptoms like chest pressure, nausea, shortness of breath, or cold sweats. 

Make a Dentist Appointment Today

If you’ve been waking up with jaw pain on one side, you could be suffering from one of the common issues above. But, it’s not a comprehensive list. If you have frequent jaw pain, you should visit a medical professional to find the cause. 

If you think your jaw pain is coming from your teeth, gums, or TMJ, Suburban Essex Dental can help. With the right care, your jaw pain will soon be a distant memory. If you’re looking for great dental service from a totally dedicated and caring team, contact us today. 

Temporomandibular disorder – NHS

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a condition affecting the movement of the jaw. It’s not usually serious and generally gets better on its own.

Check if you have temporomandibular disorder (TMD)

Signs of TMD include:

  • pain around your jaw, ear and temple
  • clicking, popping or grinding noises when you move your jaw
  • a headache around your temples
  • difficulty opening your mouth fully
  • your jaw locking when you open your mouth

The pain may be worse when chewing and when you feel stressed.

TMD can also stop you getting a good night’s sleep.

How to ease temporomandibular disorder (TMD) yourself

There are some simple things you can do to try to reduce your jaw pain.


  • eat soft food, like pasta, omelettes and soup

  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen

  • hold ice packs or heat packs to the jaw, whichever feels better

  • massage the painful jaw muscles

  • try to find ways to relax


  • do not chew gum or pen tops

  • do not bite food with your front teeth

  • do not yawn too wide

  • do not bite your nails

  • do not clench your teeth – apart from when eating, your teeth should be apart

  • do not rest your chin on your hand

How to make your own ice packs and heat packs

Try either:

  • a pack of frozen peas, wrapped in a tea towel, for no more than 5 minutes at a time, or
  • a hot water bottle, wrapped in a tea towel, twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you’re unable to eat or drink
  • the pain is affecting your daily life
  • the pain is affecting your sleep
  • the pain and discomfort keep coming back


Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: how to contact a GP

It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

Find out about using the NHS during COVID-19

Treatments for temporomandibular disorder (TMD) from a GP

The GP may suggest:

  • stronger painkillers
  • relaxation techniques to reduce stress
  • ways to improve your sleep

They might suggest you see:

  • a dentist – if teeth grinding might be an issue
  • a psychologist – if stress and anxiety are making your pain worse
  • a physiotherapist – for advice about jaw exercises and massage

If these treatments do not help, you may be referred to a specialist in joint problems to discuss other options, such as painkilling injections or surgery.

Causes of temporomandibular disorder (TMD)

TMD can be caused by:

  • teeth grinding
  • wear and tear of the joint
  • a blow to the head or face
  • stress
  • an uneven bite

Page last reviewed: 05 August 2020
Next review due: 05 August 2023

If you hear a click in your jaw, this is what you need to know

Jennifer Stacey was 13 when she first noticed the clicking sound on the left side of her jaw whenever she ate. Twenty-four years later, it’s still clicking. “My jaw gets tired and sore if I eat something that requires a lot of chewing,” she says. “It feels like an overworked muscle, a dull ache.”

Stacey, an airport security badging coordinator who lives in Vancouver, Wash. , suffers from temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder, known as TMD (also often called TMJ), which impairs the jaw joint and the muscles that control it, causing pain as well as embarrassment. It can affect one or both sides of the jaw.

It’s rarely serious, but it can be debilitating if it becomes chronic, as it is with Stacey. “When I open wide — for example, at the dentist — it can be quite painful,” she says.

Her father had it, too. The clicking “was so loud when he would eat that I would sometimes have to leave the room because it irritated me so much,” she says. After she developed it, “I’d actually make excuses to not eat in front of people.”

The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw (or mandible) to the temporal bone at the side of the head. The jaw joint’s position and movement are controlled by muscles that surround it. Opening the mouth causes the rounded ends of the lower jaw (known as condyles) to glide along the joint socket of the temporal bone. They slide back when we close our mouths.

Why the click? A soft cartilage disk cushions the two bone surfaces. In people with TMD, the disk often is out of its normal position. When the mouth is opened, the disk snaps back into its normal location, causing a click; when the mouth is closed, it becomes displaced again, causing another click.

Estimates suggest that more than 10 million Americans have experienced TMD. For most people, this usually means a single episode or a few isolated bouts.

“It’s one of the most common pain disorders, after low back pain and headache,” says John Kusiak, acting deputy director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. “Fortunately, most first-onset cases of TMD will resolve with either no treatment or minimal care.”

About 10 percent of people with TMD go on to develop long-term symptoms that affect the quality of their daily lives, Kusiak says. Experts usually define chronic TMD as consistent pain in the jaw area that lasts beyond three months, he says.

“The jaw is very important for a number of things, including how we eat, for smiling, for talking, for singing and for kissing,” Kusiak says. “People may have difficulty talking, and smiling, difficulty interacting with others. As a result, they may develop emotional and psychological problems that can lead to the inability to work or communicate.”

Scientists don’t know what causes it, although trauma to the jaw or temporomandibular joint is a clear risk factor. Most of the time, TMD develops for no obvious reason.

Because the condition is more common in women, scientists are exploring its possible connection to female hormones. They also are studying possible genetic links, a relationship that would not surprise Stacey. “With my father having it, I’m assuming that’s why I developed it, too,” she says.

Research suggests that TMD risk factors also might include teeth grinding, which can aggravate the joint, smoking and sleep dysfunction — insomnia or sleep apnea, “anything that disturbs the normal cycle of sleep,” Kusiak says — but there is no evidence that “a bite that is off, or constant chewing on one side” causes TMD.

While there is no cure, recommendations to treat symptoms include eating soft foods, applying ice packs to ease pain or swelling, and avoiding extreme jaw movements such as wide yawning, loud singing and gum chewing.

Sometimes, learning relaxation and stress-reduction techniques can help. Short-term use of over-the-counter or prescription pain medications also may provide some relief. There is no evidence that splints or night guards work as a first-line treatment, Kusiak says.

Experts advise against having surgery or other treatments that result in permanent changes in the bite or the jaw, among them crown and bridge work to balance the bite, orthodontics to change the bite, grinding down teeth to bring the bite into balance (occlusal adjustment) and repositioning splints, which permanently change the bite. Total or partial joint replacement can be especially risky, Kusiak says.

“In some cases, it can make the joint worse, and pain and discomfort worse, in that it can induce inflammation that can lead to a lot of serious problems,” he says. Also, “in a minority of cases, it can lead to more-serious complications and multiple surgeries.”

Stacey has learned to live with the disorder. “I’d never been told it was treatable,” she says. “Every time I go to a new dentist, it’s usually the first thing they say to me when I open my mouth — ‘Oh, you have TMJ.’ I’ve learned how to hide it or minimize it while in social settings where food is involved. I chew very slowly and take small bites.”

Read more

The awful sores in her mouth were a symptom of something very serious

Pain kept this young woman from eating for 5 years, and doctors didn’t know why

Why don’t we treat our teeth as if they are part of our overall health?

Anxious about pain in jaw – anyone with similar experience?


I decided to post here to ease my anxiety about my symptoms – and ask for advice on what to think/do.

I already made the mistake of going on the internet about my symptoms, which freaked me out, so now trying to find ways of calming myself, whilst waiting for something to happen.  

I’ll start with saying that I have a weird smell coming and going in my nose, it smells like dust and I’ve had it for 6-8 months now. No sinus problems otherwise and no significant headaches or anything related in the past 6-8 months…

Then it all started with a cough and on and off sore throat mainly on the left side about 6-8 weeks ago. Then a week later I went through a very stressful period (not sure it’s relevant or not) and developed loaads of painful little sores all over my tongue and mouth. They just kept coming out, going away, coming out again. Then that settled, and I started to feel pressure in my left ear, sore throat on left kept creeping back, cough still on. No stuffy nose, no fever, a couple of swollen lymph nodes on the left, not massive, just persistent… 

About two weeks ago I started to feel like there is something in my throat on the left, as if I had a swollen tonsil (and my left tonsil is slightly larger than the right but doesn’t look inflamed) and on and off started having pains under my jaw – again on the left. After prodding around a bit, I found that under my tongue on the left there is a bit of swelling and pressing down on it really hurts. Now there is a constant feeling of pressure, like something is pushing on my left ear/throat/jaw and headaches around my left temple/forehead. 

I have been to the Gp about 3-4 times already, of course as I mentioned the strange smell and cough and ear pressure, he is treating me for sinus infection. He is ignoring all my other symptoms. Two days ago he gave me antibiotics, still convinced of a sinus infection causing all this mysery.

BUT if it was an infection spreading onto my throat/ear/glands, shouldn’t it feel warm, shouldn’t I have fever and other signs of infection? And shouldn’t a salivary gland infection hurt more when I eat? I don’t have those symptoms and the GP completely ignores my complaints about swollen glands under tongue/throat.

I feel I really need to be seen by an ENT specialist, but how do I get there? Should I wait another 4-5 days until the gp is satisfied that the antibiotics won’t solve the problem? Can anybody give me an idea if this could really be just an infection presenting this way, or am I right to worry?

I have three little children and the thought of cancer absolutely freaks me out. I have started to lose sleep and could do with some reassurance/advice. Please…

Trigeminal Neuralgia – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also known as tic douloureux, is sometimes described as the most excruciating pain known to humanity. The pain typically involves the lower face and jaw, although sometimes it affects the area around the nose and above the eye. This intense, stabbing, electric shock-like pain is caused by irritation of the trigeminal nerve, which sends branches to the forehead, cheek and lower jaw. It usually is limited to one side of the face. The pain can be triggered by an action as routine and minor as brushing your teeth, eating or the wind. Attacks may begin mild and short, but if left untreated, trigeminal neuralgia can progressively worsen.

Although trigeminal neuralgia cannot always be cured, there are treatments available to alleviate the debilitating pain. Normally, anticonvulsive medications are the first treatment choice. Surgery can be an effective option for those who become unresponsive to medications or for those who suffer serious side effects from the medications.

The Trigeminal Nerve

The trigeminal nerve is one set of the cranial nerves in the head. It is the nerve responsible for providing sensation to the face. One trigeminal nerve runs to the right side of the head, while the other runs to the left. Each of these nerves has three distinct branches. “Trigeminal” derives from the Latin word “tria,” which means three, and “geminus,” which means twin. After the trigeminal nerve leaves the brain and travels inside the skull, it divides into three smaller branches, controlling sensations throughout the face:

  • Ophthalmic Nerve (V1): The first branch controls sensation in a person’s eye, upper eyelid and forehead.
  • Maxillary Nerve (V2): The second branch controls sensation in the lower eyelid, cheek, nostril, upper lip and upper gum.
  • Mandibular Nerve (V3): The third branch controls sensations in the jaw, lower lip, lower gum and some of the muscles used for chewing.

Prevalence and Incidence

It is reported that 150,000 people are diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) every year. While the disorder can occur at any age, it is most common in people over the age of 50. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) notes that TN is twice as common in women than in men. A form of TN is associated with multiple sclerosis (MS).


There are two types of TN — primary and secondary. The exact cause of TN is still unknown, but the pain associated with it represents an irritation of the nerve. Primary trigeminal neuralgia has been linked to the compression of the nerve, typically in the base of the head where the brain meets the spinal cord. This is usually due to contact between a healthy artery or vein and the trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain. This places pressure on the nerve as it enters the brain and causes the nerve to misfire. Secondary TN is caused by pressure on the nerve from a tumor, MS, a cyst, facial injury or another medical condition that damages the myelin sheaths.


Most patients report that their pain begins spontaneously and seemingly out of nowhere. Other patients say their pain follows a car accident, a blow to the face or dental work. In the cases of dental work, it is more likely that the disorder was already developing and then caused the initial symptoms to be triggered. Pain often is first experienced along the upper or lower jaw, so many patients assume they have a dental abscess. Some patients see their dentists and actually have a root canal performed, which inevitably brings no relief. When the pain persists, patients realize the problem is not dental-related.

The pain of TN is defined as either type 1 (TN1) or type 2 (TN2). TN1 is characterized by intensely sharp, throbbing, sporadic, burning or shock-like pain around the eyes, lips, nose, jaw, forehead and scalp. TN1 can get worse resulting in more pain spells that last longer. TN2 pain often is present as a constant, burning, aching and may also have stabbing less intense than TN1.

TN tends to run in cycles. Patients often suffer long stretches of frequent attacks, followed by weeks, months or even years of little or no pain. The usual pattern, however, is for the attacks to intensify over time with shorter pain-free periods. Some patients suffer less than one attack a day, while others experience a dozen or more every hour. The pain typically begins with a sensation of electrical shocks that culminates in an excruciating stabbing pain within less than 20 seconds. The pain often leaves patients with uncontrollable facial twitching, which is why the disorder is also known as tic douloureux.

Pain can be focused in one spot or it can spread throughout the face. Typically, it is only on one side of the face; however, in rare occasions and sometimes when associated with multiple sclerosis, patients may feel pain in both sides of their face. Pain areas include the cheeks, jaw, teeth, gums, lips, eyes and forehead.

Attacks of TN may be triggered by the following:

  • Touching the skin lightly
  • Washing
  • Shaving
  • Brushing teeth
  • Blowing the nose
  • Drinking hot or cold beverages
  • Encountering a light breeze
  • Applying makeup
  • Smiling
  • Talking

The symptoms of several pain disorders are similar to those of trigeminal neuralgia. The most common mimicker of TN is trigeminal neuropathic pain (TNP). TNP results from an injury or damage to the trigeminal nerve. TNP pain is generally described as being constant, dull and burning. Attacks of sharp pain can also occur, commonly triggered by touch. Additional mimickers include:


TN can be very difficult to diagnose, because there are no specific diagnostic tests and symptoms are very similar to other facial pain disorders. Therefore, it is important to seek medical care when feeling unusual, sharp pain around the eyes, lips, nose, jaw, forehead and scalp, especially if you have not had dental or other facial surgery recently. The patient should begin by addressing the problem with their primary care physician. They may refer the patient to a specialist later. 


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can detect if a tumor or MS is affecting the trigeminal nerve. A high-resolution, thin-slice or three-dimensional MRI can reveal if there is compression caused by a blood vessel. Newer scanning techniques can show if a vessel is pressing on the nerve and may even show the degree of compression. Compression due to veins is not as easily identified on these scans. Tests can help rule out other causes of facial disorders. TN usually is diagnosed based on the description of the symptoms provided by the patient, detailed patient history and clinical evaluation. There are no specific diagnostic tests for TN, so physicians must rely heavily on symptoms and history. Physicians base their diagnosis on the type pain (sudden, quick and shock-like), the location of the pain and things that trigger the pain. Physical and neurological examinations may also be done in which the doctor will touch and examine parts of your face to better understand where the pain is located.


Non-Surgical Treatments

There are several effective ways to alleviate the pain, including a variety of medications. Medications are generally started at low doses and increased gradually based on patient’s response to the drug.

  • Carbamazepine, an anticonvulsant drug, is the most common medication that doctors use to treat TN. In the early stages of the disease, carbamazepine controls pain for most people. When a patient shows no relief from this medication, a physician has cause to doubt whether TN is present. However, the effectiveness of carbamazepine decreases over time. Possible side effects include dizziness, double vision, drowsiness and nausea.
  • Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant drug, which is most commonly used to treat epilepsy or migraines can also treat TN. Side effects of this drug are minor and include dizziness and/or drowsiness which go away on their own.
  • Oxcarbazepine, a newer medication, has been used more recently as the first line of treatment. It is structurally related to carbamazepine and may be preferred, because it generally has fewer side effects. Possible side effects include dizziness and double vision.

Other medications include: baclofen, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, pregabalin, phenytoin, valproic acid, clonazepam, sodium valporate, lamotrigine, topiramate, phenytoin and opioids.

There are drawbacks to these medications, other than side effects. Some patients may need relatively high doses to alleviate the pain, and the side effects can become more pronounced at higher doses. Anticonvulsant drugs may lose their effectiveness over time. Some patients may need a higher dose to reduce the pain or a second anticonvulsant, which can lead to adverse drug reactions. Many of these drugs can have a toxic effect on some patients, particularly people with a history of bone marrow suppression and kidney and liver toxicity. These patients must have their blood monitored to ensure their safety.


If medications have proven ineffective in treating TN, several surgical procedures may help control the pain. Surgical treatment is divided into two categories: 1) open cranial surgery or 2) lesioning procedures. In general, open surgery is performed for patients found to have pressure on the trigeminal nerve from a nearby blood vessel, which can be diagnosed with imaging of the brain, such as a special MRI. This surgery is thought to take away the underlying problem causing the TN. In contrast, lesioning procedures include interventions that injure the trigeminal nerve on purpose, in order to prevent the nerve from delivering pain to the face. The effects of lesioning may be shorter lasting and in some keys may result in numbness to the face.

Open Surgery

Microvascular decompression involves microsurgical exposure of the trigeminal nerve root, identification of a blood vessel that may be compressing the nerve and gentle movement of the blood vessel away from the point of compression. Decompression may reduce sensitivity and allow the trigeminal nerve to recover and return to a more normal, pain-free condition. While this generally is the most effective surgery, it also is the most invasive, because it requires opening the skull through a craniotomy. There is a small risk of decreased hearing, facial weakness, facial numbness, double vision, stroke or death.

Lesioning Procedures

Percutaneous radiofrequency rhizotomy treats TN through the use of electrocoagulation (heat). It can relieve nerve pain by destroying the part of the nerve that causes pain and suppressing the pain signal to the brain. The surgeon passes a hollow needle through the cheek into the trigeminal nerve. A heating current, which is passed through an electrode, destroys some of the nerve fibers.

Percutaneous balloon compression utilizes a needle that is passed through the cheek to the trigeminal nerve. The neurosurgeon places a balloon in the trigeminal nerve through a catheter. The balloon is inflated where fibers produce pain. The balloon compresses the nerve, injuring the pain-causing fibers, and is then removed.

Percutaneous glycerol rhizotomy utilizes glycerol injected through a needle into the area where the nerve divides into three main branches. The goal is to damage the nerve selectively in order to interfere with the transmission of the pain signals to the brain.

Stereotactic radiosurgery (through such procedures as Gamma Knife, Cyberknife, Linear Accelerator (LINAC) delivers a single highly concentrated dose of ionizing radiation to a small, precise target at the trigeminal nerve root. This treatment is noninvasive and avoids many of the risks and complications of open surgery and other treatments. Over a period of time and as a result of radiation exposure, the slow formation of a lesion in the nerve interrupts transmission of pain signals to the brain.

Overall, the benefits of surgery or lesioning techniques should always be weighed carefully against its risks. Although a large percentage of TN patients report pain relief after procedures, there is no guarantee that they will help every individual.


For patients with TNP, another surgical procedure can be done that includes placement of one or more electrodes in the soft tissue near the nerves, under the skull on the covering of the brain and sometimes deeper into the brain, to deliver electrical stimulation to the part of the brain responsible for sensation of the face. In peripheral nerve stimulation, the leads are placed under the skin on branches of the trigeminal nerve. In motor cortex stimulation (MCS), the area which innervates the face is stimulated. In deep brain stimulation (DBS), regions that affect sensation pathways to the face may be stimulated.

How to Prepare for a Neurosurgical Appointment

  • Write down symptoms. This should include: What the pain feels like (for example, is it sharp, shooting, aching, burning or other), where exactly the pain is located (lower jaw, cheek, eye/forehead), if it is accompanied by other symptoms (headache, numbness, facial spasms), duration of pain (weeks, months, years), pain-free intervals (longest period of time without pain or in between episodes), severity of pain (0=no pain, 10=worst pain)
  • Note any triggers of pain (e.g. brushing teeth, touching face, cold air)
  • Make a list of medications and surgeries related to the face pain (prior medications, did they work, were there side effects), current medications (duration and dose)
  • Write down questions in advance
  • Understand that the diagnosis and treatment process for TN is not simple. Having realistic expectations can greatly improve overall outcomes.


Patients should follow-up with their primary care providers and specialists regularly to maintain their treatment. Typically, neuromodulation surgical patients are asked to return to the clinic every few months in the year following the surgery. During these visits, they may adjust the stimulation settings and assess the patient’s recovery from surgery. Routinely following-up with a doctor ensures that the care is correct and effective. Patients who undergo any form of neurostimulation surgery will also follow-up with a device representative who will adjust the device settings and parameters as needed alongside their doctors.

Latest Research

Currently Recruiting

Recently Published

  • Gao J, Zhao C, Jiang W, Zheng B, He Y. Effect of Acupuncture on Cognitive Function and Quality of Life in Patients With Idiopathic Trigeminal Neuralgia. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2019 Mar;207(3). This study investigated how trigeminal neuralgia patients improved with accupuncture therapy. The study concluded that accupuncture can be used as an alterantive treatment for trigeminal neuralgia to improve patient’s quality of life.
  • Heinskou TB, Maarbjerg S, Wolfram F, Rochat P, Brennum J, Olesen J, Bendtsen L. Favourable prognosis of trigeminal neuralgia when enrolled in a multidisciplinary management program – a two-year prospective real-life study. J Headache Pain. 2019 Mar 4;20(1):23. This is a long-term observational study which looked at how patients with trigeminal neuralgia are medically managed. The study concluded that patients who are enrolled in a medical management program providing them with continous education, optimization of treatment, and support have better pain relief.

Resources for More Information

The following websites offer additional information on TN and its causes, treatment options, support and more (Note: These sites are not under the auspice of the AANS, and their listing here should not be seen as an endorsement of the sites or their content. )

Author Information

Patient Pages are authored by neurosurgical professionals, with the goal of providing useful information to the public.

Julie G. Pilitsis, MD, PhD
Chair, Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics
Professor, Neurosurgery and Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics
Albany Medical College

Olga Khazen
Research Coordinator, Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics
Albany Medical College


The AANS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products or physicians referenced in these patient fact sheets. This information provided is an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific neurosurgical advice or assistance should consult his or her neurosurgeon, or locate one in your area through the AANS’ Find a Board-certified Neurosurgeon online tool.

Is It a Toothache or TMJ Pain?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain can put you out of commission because of how severe it can be. However, because of its location and the responsibilities it holds, TMJ pain can often feel like dental pain. If you have jaw pain and aren’t sure if it’s TMJ disorder or a toothache, keep reading to learn more.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder affects the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jawbone to the skull on each side of your face. This joint is responsible for opening and closing your mouth. TMJ disorder occurs when the joint becomes inflamed and irritated. Causes of TMJ vary from person to person. While one patient may suffer from arthritis-induced TMJ pain, another may cause their own pain by grinding their teeth at night.

TMJ symptoms can range from mild to severe and include pain in the jaw, aching pain around the ear, and difficulty or pain when eating. In severe cases, the jaw can lock, which makes it hard to open and close your mouth.

Why Does TMJ Pain Cause Tooth Pain?

Because of its location near many muscles, nerves, and ligaments, TMJ pain can radiate to other parts of your face, neck, and head. This is known as referred pain, and in some cases, the radiated pain is severe enough that you may not think the pain is not coming from the TMJ. Some pain radiates upward, which may cause pain in the head, ear, eyes, etc. However, when the pain radiates downward, it can cause pain near your teeth.

Pain from TMJ can be dull, sharp, searing, sporadic, constant, etc. Different types of toothaches cause similar pain, which may cause patients to believe they are suffering from a toothache instead of TMJ disorder. TMJ also causes tooth pain by irritating trigger points. These trigger points form when the muscle becomes contracted and stiff. Less oxygenated blood reaches the area, and more toxins are held, causing tenderness.

Can Tooth Pain Cause TMJ Pain?

TMJ pain can make you think you have a toothache, but the connection runs deeper. If you undergo a lot of dental procedures, such as crowns, it can affect your bite. In turn, this change can put extra strain on the jaw joint. Unlike referred pain, however, the jaw joint becomes inflamed and irritated because of the new position of the mouth. If left untreated, this can cause long-term TMJ pain.

A severe toothache in an upper molar may refer pain to another part of the face, including the jaw joint, making it feel like you have TMJ pain. However, in this case, fixing the toothache should fully resolve the TMJ pain. Of course, the pain may have caused you to grind your teeth or clench your teeth, which can leave the TMJ sore for a time too.

How Can You Differentiate TMJ Pain From a Toothache?

If TMJ pain and toothache pain go hand in hand, how can you tell which is which? First, take a look inside your mouth to check for any cavities, chips, or cracks, which may be causing the pain. Similarly, if you have a tooth infection, you may spot pus oozing from a tooth. An infected tooth will also smell foul, and you may have a bitter taste in your mouth.

If one or more of your teeth is suddenly overly sensitive to heat, cold, or sugar, you probably have a cavity. Finally, try resting your face for a time and/or massaging the temporomandibular joint. If the pain seems to lessen or dissipate, it may be TMJ pain.

TMJ pain can make your entire face hurt, including your teeth, making it hard to determine what kind of pain you are experiencing. If you believe your pain is from a toothache, or you want to rule out a cavity or infection, contact us
at Davis & Beyer Dental Health Professionals today.

90,000 What to do if the jaw clicks?

Clicks, crunching of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are one of the first symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. And some people are faced with such unpleasant phenomena as clicks in the jaw, crunching in the jaw. Which doctor should you go to if your jaw clicks, crunches and hurts when you open your mouth?

First of all, you need to find an orthodontist or orthopedic surgeon who has knowledge in the field of gnathology and deals with the treatment of such a pathology.

The jaw clicks when opening the mouth – treatment

Three orthodontists, gnathologists, are receiving at the TariDent dental center. When making an appointment, the administrator will help you choose a convenient time and make an appointment with a specialist.

For what symptoms should I see a gnathologist?

  • Clicks, crunch in temporomandibular joint (in normal language – jaw clicks, jaw crunches)
  • Pain when opening the mouth
  • Crunch when opening the mouth
  • Pain in the ear when opening the mouth
  • Mouth does not open or does not open well
  • When opening the mouth, the jaw moves to the side
  • Pain in the jaw after long conversations, eating
  • Pain when chewing in the jaw
  • Teeth grinding (day, night)

What should I do if I have these symptoms?

  • Make an appointment with a gnathologist
  • Limit solid food intake
  • Do not eat food in large chunks, cut into small wedges or grate
  • Do not try to open your mouth wide (limit mouth opening, create rest for TMJ)
  • Do not chew gum
  • Do not compress the jaw too much
  • Get good sleep and reduce stress

Further diagnostic tests and treatment will be selected and appointed by a gnathologist.

The article was prepared by Chernaya IN, orthodontist.

Treatment of TMJ by a specialist

  • Irina Chorna


  • Kurakova Alena


    Orthodontist, TMJ specialist

    More details

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction ›Diseases› Dr.Peter.ru

Dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is called differently in medicine: myofacial syndrome, chronic subluxation of the lower jaw, arthritis, arthrosis of the TMJ … of the mandibular joints at the beginning of the 20th century and discovered a connection with ear pain. This is one of the complex and painful pathologies that is not easy to diagnose and treat.


Diagnosis of TMJ lesions is complicated by the fact that this pathology has a lot of symptoms.But some of them can be called classic – those that affect the TMJ 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 at trigger points, which are seals in the muscles (masticatory, temporal, sublingual, temporal, cervical) – pain is felt when pressed on them. At the same time, 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, then the disc is displaced and the muscles supporting the lower jaw while chewing food are unnaturally tense. This tension results in pain in the muscles, face, head and neck.

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

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

Headache is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ pathology. It usually concentrates in the temples, the back of the head, and even the shoulders (shoulder blades). Jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism), which can also be symptoms of TMJ, cause muscle pain that can lead to headaches. A displaced TMJ disc can also cause joint pain that often radiates to the temples, forehead, or neck. Moreover, these pains are so strong that doctors often confuse them with migraines or with brain pathologies.

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

TMJ pathology can be associated with back pain due to increased muscle tension (myofascial pain syndrome), dizziness, disorientation, confusion, depression and, on its background, sleep disturbance.It is also possible to develop photophobia (increased sensitivity to light), 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 the lower jaw. Muscles that perform the functions of chewing, swallowing and speaking 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 – this is a symmetrical organ, therefore, in the event of a malfunction of one of them, the work of the other 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 reasons for its occurrence are malocclusion, a sharp overstrain of the masticatory muscles when chewing hard and rough food, improper dental treatment (tooth filling, prosthetics), bruxism and increased tooth wear, sports loads that lead to overstrain of certain muscle groups.

Often the cause of the development of TMJ dysfunction is stress, as well as improper dental treatment, more precisely, errors of orthopedic dentists, orthodontists, therapists, surgeons: even the treatment of simple caries can lead to dysfunction of the mandibular joint, if the dentist therapist placed an inflated filling, which violated the symmetry and led to one-sided loads, and then to displacement of the discs, and with it to pain. The causes of this disease can also be a joint injury, abrasion of 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 the function of chewing and reduce pain, you can use moist heat: you need to apply a compress to the sore spot – a bottle of hot water can perform its function. wrapped in a warm damp towel to avoid scalding.

Ice can help reduce inflammation and dull pain. However, the ice bag (or plastic ice bottle) should not be placed directly on the skin, it is better to wrap it in a cloth.Remember that you cannot use ice for more than 10-15 minutes, the break between the installation of compresses should be at least an hour.

Analgesics can help temporarily relieve pain.

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

Learn relaxation techniques that are comfortable for you: Relaxation can help you manage the pain that accompanies TMJ dysfunction.


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


Due to the fact that joint dysfunction is difficult to diagnose, even dentists have little knowledge of this pathology and methods of treatment. Therefore, most patients do not receive qualified timely help and go to osteopaths, chiropractors, otolaryngologists, therapists, neurologists, psychotherapists … In fact, dentists should deal with the treatment of 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 of teeth, prosthetics, physiotherapy, acupuncture.

According to the indications, the doctor may prescribe a nightly wearing of a trainer – an articular splint, with the help of which myofascial pain syndrome is relieved. It can be used for both diagnosis and prevention of tooth abrasion with bruxism.

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


Prevention is timely and high-quality treatment and prosthetics of teeth, correction of occlusion, timely seeking help from a doctor after an injury.

© Dr. Peter

TMJ pain

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunctions are one of the most common causes of facial pain, often incorrectly referred to as temporomandibular dysfunction. There are 2 main types of TMJ dysfunction: myogenic (the source of muscle pain) and arthrogenic (the source of pain is the TMJ).

Understanding TMJ dysfunction
This violation suggests the following symptoms:
– pain or discomfort in or around the ear, TMJ and / or muscles of the jaw, face, temporal region and neck on one or both sides.The pain can come on suddenly and increase, fluctuating in frequency and intensity, for months and years.

Clicking mouth opening, crepitus, locking, restricting opening or deflection of the mandible during movement, difficulty chewing, and headache are also associated with TMJ.

Temporomandibular joint structure
The temporomandibular joint or temporomandibular joint is a freely rotating and sliding joint, coated with fibrous cartilage, soccer ball (condyle), fibrous lining (disc), bone lining cavity (fossa), ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and nerves.The disc functions as a moving shock absorber and stabilizer between the condyle and fossa. When the jaw opens, the condyle normally rotates first and then slides forward within the fossa with a disc between the condyle and fossa.

Chewing muscles
Muscles attach to the lower jaw, upper jaw, skull and neck. The chewing muscles open, close, extend, and move your jaw, allowing you to speak, chew, and swallow. Additional chewing muscles (muscles of the neck and shoulder girdle) stabilize the skull on the neck during chewing.

Myogenic TMJ dysfunction (muscle-related)
It usually occurs due to overwork, fatigue, or tension in the masticatory or accessory muscles, resulting in facial, headache, and sometimes neck pain.

Arthrogenic TMJ dysfunction (joint-related)
As a rule, it is the result of inflammation, degenerative changes in the hard and soft tissues in the joint. Capsulitis or synovitis (inflammation), disc displacement (also called internal injury) and degenerative arthritis are the most common causes of TMJ dysfunction

Causes of TMJ dysfunction
The exact causes of dysfunction have not yet been clarified.It is believed that the development of dysfunction is due to a combination of several severe factors, including trauma and joint disease.

Teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism), as well as muscle tension in the neck and head, are currently not proven causes of TMJ dysfunction, but they can aggravate the course of the symptoms of this disease, and they must be taken into account in order to treat and manage patients with this pathology … It is important for people with this dysfunction to understand that the condition can be chronic and can be highly influenced by many factors, including emotional stability.Since there is no quick fix or emergency treatment for TMJ, the most successful and supported treatments are focused on self-observation and control of aggravating symptoms.

Factors associated with TMJ dysfunction
– Trauma: Direct trauma to the jaw is associated with the onset of symptoms of dysfunction. Direct trauma to the jaw can occur from a blow to the jaw, hyperextension (overextension) of the jaw, and in some cases, compression of the jaw. Prolonged or forceful dental procedures, intubation during general anesthesia and surgical procedures in the mouth, throat, and upper gastrointestinal tract (esophagus and stomach) can injure the TMJ.
– Inappropriate habits: Habits such as clenching your teeth, clenching your jaws, grinding your teeth (bruxism), biting your lips or nails, using chewing gum, and placing your jaw in abnormal positions are common. With regard to them, evidence of their involvement in the development of dysfunction has not been proven. Such habits are often associated with TMJ dysfunction and can contribute to the appearance of factors that translate into a chronic form and aggravate the existing symptoms of the pathology.
– Bite: Denture refers to the way the teeth fit together or “bite”. Historically, dentists have viewed malocclusion as the main cause of TMJ dysfunction. Recent studies have shown that malocclusion usually does not lead to this group of diseases, with the exception of a few cases. Each situation must be considered individually so that the doctor can make a differential diagnosis of facial pain.
– Psychological factors: Many patients with TMJ dysfunction report that the onset of symptoms or worsening of the disease is accompanied by an increase in emotional stress and psychological imbalance, leading to depression or anxiety. Scientific research shows that many people with this dysfunction experience varying levels of depression and anxiety, and these levels are higher than those without this dysfunction. To date, it has not been established whether symptoms of depression or anxiety are present before the onset of TMJ dysfunction and then contribute to its formation, or whether chronic pain associated with this pathological condition leads to the formation of anxiety and depression.Many patients begin to clench and grind their teeth more often and harder when experiencing emotional stress, psychological imbalance, or pain.
– Temporomandibular joint diseases: Some types of arthritis can damage the TMJ, as well as other joints. It is common in osteoarthritis developing in an aging population. Many other diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, myasthenia gravis, strokes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, can lead to excessive or uncontrolled movements of the masticatory muscles.
– Other factors: The use of drugs and certain prescribed medications can affect the central nervous system and muscles, and lead to TMJ dysfunction.

Diagnosis of TMJ dysfunction.
Diagnosis of this disease should be part of routine practice for general practitioners and dentists.

A short set of diagnostic procedures may include:
– Medical history: complaints of pain in the jaw area, headaches, neck pain, discomfort in the TMJ area, closing of the jaws, clenching of the teeth, damage to the jaws, head, neck, as well as a history of cases of TMJ dysfunction or treatment of facial pain.- Objective examination: may include measuring the opening of the jaws, combined movements, deviation of the jaws during opening, palpation (pressure exerted by fingers) of the joint, jaws, muscles of the head and neck to determine pain points and the presence of crepitus. It is also necessary to assess the gums, soft tissues of the mouth, teeth and make notes about the disease, the presence of tooth damage, as well as the symmetry of the jaw, face and head. If any abnormalities are found during the examination, a more detailed history should be collected and a more in-depth examination performed.

Comprehensive assessment of TMJ dysfunction
Comprehensive assessment may include:
– Complete analysis of all symptoms related to TMJ, head, neck, medical history, dental history, life history, heredity, psychological history.
– Comprehensive objective examination of the face, cervical spine, masticatory muscles, head and neck, neurological structures, teeth, gums, hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity.
– Psychological history, including a short survey and testing.- Additional tests, including X-rays and imaging techniques, biopsies, blood tests, urine tests, neurological tests, diagnostic injections.

Treatment of TMJ dysfunction
Since there is no known cure for this pathology, the management of patients with symptoms of dysfunction is similar to the management of patients with other orthopedic or rheumatological disorders. The goals of managing this group of patients are: to reduce pain, unfavorable pressure and stress on the jaws, restore the functions of the jaws, and implement a well-planned management program to treat the physical, emotional and psychological aspects.Management options and treatment sequence for TMJ dysfunction are similar to other musculoskeletal disorders. As with many diseases of the musculoskeletal system, the signs and symptoms of TMJ can be temporary and resolve on their own without serious long-term consequences. For these reasons, it should be especially important to try to avoid aggressive and irreversible treatment options such as surgery, major dental surgeries or orthodontic treatment.Conservative management techniques include behavioral changes, physical activity, medications, jaw exercises, and orthopedic aids. All have been found to be safe and effective treatments for cases of TMJ dysfunction.

Most patients with this disease achieve long-term remission with conservative therapy. Scientific studies show that in more than 50% of these patients, only a few symptoms persist or they disappear completely.

Patient self-monitoring should include:
– Limited opening of the jaws (no more than 2 fingers wide).
– It is necessary to give the jaws a rest, avoiding prolonged chewing (chewing gum, bagels, tough meat).
– Avoiding teeth grinding and clenching by relaxing in the jaw area and keeping the upper and lower rows of teeth at a distance.
– Avoiding leaning or sleeping on the jaw.
– Avoidance of pushing movements with the tongue and chewing of non-food items (nails, pens, pencils, etc.), stress, pressure on the jaw.
– Use of cold, ice or damp warm compresses as directed by your doctor or therapist.
– Performing massage of the affected muscles.
– Performing gentle, restricted jaw exercises as prescribed by the attending physician.
– The use of drugs as directed by the attending physician.

Treatment options.
– Orthotics:
You may be offered an orthosis (or a retainer known as a “night watchman” or “bite guard”) that fits over the upper and lower rows of teeth. The retainer has many different purposes, and it can be worn either permanently or part of the time, it all depends on the appointment of the attending physician. In most cases, retainers are used to separate the rows of teeth, realign the joints of the jaw, and help the jaws to relax.The unique look and adjustment of the brace will depend on your condition, how it changes while wearing the brace, and the overall treatment plan.

Management of patients in the presence of stress.
One of the goals of TMJ dysfunction treatment is to define a therapy for daily stress. Your doctor may recommend several options for you to do this. These options include: method-biofeedback (biofeedback method), breathing for relaxation, image management, and sometimes, referring to a specialist.

Physiotherapists are specially trained professionals who assist in the rehabilitation of all types of physical injuries. There are many treatment options that can help. These include: jaw exercises, posture training, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and mobilization. Your healthcare provider and physical therapist will work together to shape your treatment plan.

Bite correction
Sometimes it is necessary to improve the way your teeth fit together.This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Orthodontics, usually with braces, will help you move your teeth so that they fit better together. In some cases, when the jaws themselves are not misaligned, they are corrected with combined treatment by an orthodontist and maxillofacial surgeon. This is called orthognathic surgery.

Correction of the bite occurs due to the intensive work of the dentist, with the installation of crowns, bridges, and, if necessary, implants.This is done to replace missing teeth or to resize and reshape teeth so that they fit together and function more harmoniously with the jaws and muscles. Surgical treatment is sometimes performed to repair or reconstruct the jaw when conservative treatment fails to achieve a comfortable existence and good functioning. Surgical treatment is rarely necessary, but it can be performed to remove debris that may accumulate in the joint cavity, as well as to repair damaged tissue or even replace the entire jaw, such as changing other joints (knee, hip and shoulder).

Extensive research is underway to determine the safety and efficacy of treatment for TMJ dysfunction / orofacial pain. Many researchers and clinicians insist on reversible and conservative treatment of dysfunction. Even when the symptoms of this dysfunction persist for a long time, they are pronounced, many patients with this pathology do not need invasive treatment. Treatments designed to alter the bite or reposition of the jaws through orthodontic or dental reconstructive procedures are usually unnecessary.And if they are used, then when absolutely necessary. If irreversible treatment is expected for TMJ dysfunction or orofacial pain, we recommend seeking additional authoritative opinion.

Trained dentists, physiotherapists, psychologists and clinicians are often the best source for correct diagnosis and follow-up of this patient population.

Exercises for the temporomandibular joint

90,000 Jaw pain: doctors talked about another symptom of coronavirus

Convalescent coronavirus patients may experience jaw pain as a symptom, possibly caused by breathing problems, physiotherapists say.In their opinion, COVID-19 can lead to a sprain of the jaw.

American Dr. Douglas Dieterich, a hepatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, has had a long recovery from the coronavirus, Fox News says. Dr. Dietrich spent several weeks in the intensive care unit back in March after contracting the new coronavirus while treating his patients.

“This virus has infected my body, my lungs, my heart, my legs, my nose, and it is all slowly recovering,” Dietrich told Fox News.

During his recovery, Douglas Dietrich said he had many symptoms, the most recent of which was a pain in the jaw, known as a disorder of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

“I was told that this was probably due to the fact that I breathed with my mouth open as I struggled to breathe in the first months of recovery,” says Dr. Dietrich.

“Now I wear a mouth guard to relieve tension in the temporomandibular joint area,” and I do physiotherapy, – said a liver specialist.

While this seems insignificant compared to the nightmare he went through, it is still an annoying problem that many patients recovering from COVID-19 are experiencing, health experts commented to Fox News.

“The temporomandibular joint is the joint where your jaw and ear meet and can often be a site of pain and discomfort,” physiotherapists at Thrive Integrated Physical Therapy in New York told Fox News.

“Due to COVID-19 infections, many patients were unable to breathe normally and compensated for this with accessory neck muscles that helped them breathe.- Tamar Amitai, PT, owner of Thrive Integrated Physical Therapy told Fox News. “This can lead to fatigue and tension in the cervical muscles that are connected to the jaw, resulting in discomfort in the jaw and neck area.”

Physiotherapists told Fox News that open-mouth breathing, which is often seen in those who struggle with breathing during the acute phase of COVID-19 infection, can “weigh down the joint” and cause it to strain.

Sherri Glasser, MD, MD, director of Metro Physical and Aquatic Therapy in New York and Florida, comments to Fox News that “upper chest breathing is very common” in COVID-19 and other breathing conditions and can lead to stretching of the neck and jaw area.

“In addition, COVID patients are more stressed and may clench their teeth at night,” which increases tension in the jaw area, says Glasser.

Glasser, a chiropractor, explains that patients with COVID can adopt inappropriate postures due to breathing problems and general weakness from the virus, leading to muscle imbalances that can create additional stress on the jaw and neck.

“The forward head position also tightens the muscles in the front of the neck, pulling the TMJ back toward the inner ear.Poor posture awareness can lead to overuse of accessory breathing muscles in the front of the neck and upper chest instead of the diaphragm, ”explains Sherri Glasser.

Patients recovering from COVID-19 and experiencing jaw pain can receive help with physical therapy by “normalizing posture and breathing to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of TMJ abnormalities that cause facial and neck pain, ringing in the ears, dizziness, fatigue, loss of balance. and headaches, ”Glasser explains to Fox News.

90,000 what is it ᐈ Symptoms and how to remove them

Pain under the jaw: what causes unpleasant symptoms and how to eliminate them

If it hurts under the jaw, do not ignore the unpleasant symptoms. They can talk about a number of diseases, some of which pose a serious danger to the body. Pain can also be triggered by mechanical stress. When a blow has occurred, the integrity of the jaw should be ascertained. In any case, you need to visit a doctor.You may need to consult a dentist, surgeon, neurologist, otolaryngologist or others. To understand which doctor is needed, it is worth analyzing the nature and localization of pain.

What could be the cause of the discomfort

Pain under the jaw can occur on the left and right, when pressed or at rest. It can be provoked by many reasons – dental diseases, bruises, damage to nerve endings, etc. Among the most common causative factors are:

  1. Bruxism (teeth grinding).In some people, the anomaly manifests itself with nervous tension. But more often such a violation occurs in a dream, so the person does not even suspect that he is suffering from bruxism. In addition to erasing tooth enamel, it can cause jaw pain.
  2. Dental diseases: deep caries, pulpitis, periodontitis, sialolithiasis (salivary stone pathology). More often, painful sensations appear when the infection affects the pulp. Microorganisms spread through the root canal and infect nearby tissues. This explains why the jaw hurts.
  3. Osteomyelitis. In case of illness, the infection spreads through the body by the blood stream, affecting bone and soft tissues. If osteomyelitis of the jaw develops, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is often involved in the painful process. In this case, in addition to painful sensations, the temperature rises, the face swells.
  4. Neurological and vascular pathologies – for example, neuralgia, dysfunction of the vessels of the heart. In arteritis, when the facial artery is affected, pain begins in both jaws.The end point of the painful arch is the corner of the eye. With glossopharyngeal neuralgia, it hurts severely under the chin when pressed or at rest. The main reason for the development of pathology is hypothermia and viral infections.
  5. Fracture. Possible with strong impact on the jaw. In this case, acute pain is felt, the face swells, hemorrhage is observed. When a fracture occurs, it is difficult or impossible to chew.

A child’s chin may hurt during the change of teeth.This is due to the fact that with their growth the nerve is pinched, which provokes unpleasant sensations. Attacks can last from a few minutes to an hour. To exclude various diseases, the child should be shown to other specialists. Difficulty erupting the figure of eight in adults can also cause a sore throat that radiates to the jaw. Pain is considered normal after tooth extraction, especially the third molar, if it does not increase and the unpleasant symptoms do not persist for more than 7 days. Otherwise, you need to see a doctor.

Wearing orthodontic structures also causes some discomfort. So, when using a bracket system, the arch, acting on the teeth, facilitates their movement. The roots press on the bone tissue, which provokes a dull aching pain in the jaws at first. It happens that the painful sensations are caused by excessive tension of the arc. For unpleasant symptoms to disappear, you only need to weaken it.

Lymphatic changes as one of the causes of pain under the jaw

When discomfort occurs, first of all, it is necessary to assess the health of the submandibular lymph nodes.It is worth excluding or confirming (in the presence of pathology) lymphadenitis – inflammation that develops when an infection enters the lymph nodes. The disease in an acute form is accompanied by sharp pain, the body temperature rises, and weakness appears. Discomfort is especially acute when you press on a sore spot. If timely treatment is not carried out, the disease becomes chronic. With different forms of lymphadenitis, an abscess or phlegmon can develop – a purulent formation.

Lymph nodes can become inflamed, for example, in acute and chronic tonsillitis.In this case, it can hurt from different sides under the jaw. But other symptoms come to the fore: acute sore throat (especially when swallowing), purulent plaque on the tonsils, fever – even up to 40 ˚C.

If the lymph node in the neck hurts, this may also indicate the appearance of a neoplasm. More often these are metastases that penetrate from other organs. The nature of painful sensations is different. The patient has a high body temperature for a long time, weakness appears, he dramatically loses weight.

The nature of pain depending on the type of disease

Since different diseases can provoke discomfort, its nature will also differ:

  1. Arthrosis. Constant aching pain is felt. It is also accompanied by a crunch. If you open your mouth strongly (or when chewing), the painful sensations increase. Most attacks occur in the morning.
  2. Migraine. With this neurological disease, pain is usually felt in the neck under the jaw on one side.It intensifies when exposed to stimuli – bright light, a sharp change in lighting, loud sounds, strong odors. Other characteristic symptoms include thirst, nausea, flies in the eyes, and speech disorders. The duration of the attacks is from 3 hours to 4 days.
  3. Angina. The disease is accompanied by pain under the jaw and in the throat. It intensifies when swallowing. Often the patient even refuses to eat. Painful sensations can also be felt in the ear.
  4. TMJ dysfunction. With pathology, pain appears in the lower jaw, in front of the ear, in the forehead and cheeks.Characteristic “clicking” sounds may occur. Sometimes there may even be a “jamming” of the jaw. The pain is characterized as prolonged, dull, muffled, becomes more acute with wide opening of the mouth or chewing.
  5. Neuralgia of the ear node. The pain manifests itself in seizures that can last up to an hour. She gives it to the lower jaw and temple. Increased when pressed. The person may feel a “clicking” in the ear.
  6. Benign tumors. At the initial stages of the disease, the patient does not notice any symptoms.Sharp pain in osteoid osteoma is felt even with an advanced disease. Osteoblastoclastoma is accompanied by aching pain in the jaw. The temperature may also rise, and a pale pink neoplasm appears on the gums. Late forms of adamantioma are characterized by sharp pain in the jaw, the intensity of which increases with chewing.
  7. Malignant tumors. At first, the pain is practically not felt, but after a while it will be impossible to live normally without analgesics. So, with osteosarcoma, which develops in the bone tissue, the painful sensations are very strong.The attacks are long lasting.

Sharp and severe pain in the chin in some cases is the first sign of myocardial infarction and angina pectoris. Localization of unpleasant symptoms in this case is often on the left.

Diagnosis of diseases

Even if at first painful sensations are mild, over time they can develop into exhaustion. Therefore, do not hesitate to visit a doctor. He will conduct an examination, take an anamnesis, prescribe an x-ray and a test.In case of heart problems, an ECG is additionally done. If there is a suspicion of a tumor, the examination will be more serious, since it is necessary to determine which neoplasm (benign or malignant), the stage of the lesion, the presence of metastases.

Taking painkillers can “lubricate” the clinical picture, so it is not worth using them without a doctor’s prescription, especially before diagnosis. Only with the correct diagnosis will the doctor be able to determine what to do to eliminate the pathology.

Basic methods of treating pathologies

Analgesics will only hide the symptoms for a while, but will not solve the problem. Therefore, it is necessary to treat the disease that is causing the pain. Here are some examples.

Jaw injuries

In case of a bruise, a cold compress and a bandage should be immediately applied to the sore spot. You should definitely see a doctor so that he excludes other serious pathologies, such as dislocation or fracture. It is important to ensure complete rest of the jaw during treatment.

If the cause of pain is a dislocation, the jaw is adjusted to the correct position and fixed with a bandage, which allows it to remain immobile. In case of a fracture, the traumatologist does splinting or intermaxillary fixation. If it is open, the technique of osteosynthesis with titanium plates is used.

Treatment of osteomyelitis

The tooth involved in the painful process will have to be removed. The doctor, when carrying out manipulations, in most cases, opens a purulent focus in the bone and adjacent tissues.Both intraoral and extraoral incisions can be made. All actions are carried out under local anesthesia. After surgery, it is important to carefully handle the wounds. The doctor prescribes antibiotics, vitamins, pain relievers and other necessary medications.

In bone necrosis, the doctor determines how to treat osteomyelitis based on the stage of the inflammatory process.

Treatment of TMJ dysfunction

Therapy of pathology provides an integrated approach:

  • the use of orthodontic techniques involving correction of the occlusion;
  • operation;
  • Teeth “remodeling” or prosthetics;
  • physical and acupuncture.

Treatment of sore throat

The doctor determines the method of treatment depending on the degree of the disease. More often the patient is treated at home under the supervision of a specialist. The doctor prescribes antipyretic and antiviral drugs, as well as medicines for sore throat.

Using any folk remedies without traditional treatment is a big health risk. They can only be used in some cases as an adjuvant therapy, after consulting a doctor.

Each case is different, and the method of treatment for one patient may not help another. Therefore, in any case, it is worth contacting a specialist – a dentist or a therapist, for example, and he, if necessary, will refer you to another doctor.

Jaw hurts, ear ache – Question to the dentist

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For what reason does the jaw hurt near the ear?

Any painful sensations in the head area bring a lot of discomfort to a person and cause anxiety. This anxiety is not unfounded, since such symptoms may indicate problems in certain systems and organs.

If a person has a sore jaw near the ear, it hurts to open his mouth, talk or chew food, then the reason for this can be a huge number of factors.Such symptoms may indicate a specific disease occurring in this area, or developing pathologies of other organs of the body. It is worth considering the most common factors that affect the development of pain near the ear.

Orthodontic structures

Braces, removable dentures and any other products that are designed to correct a person’s bite can bring unpleasant sensations. Designs of this type are necessary so that teeth that grow incorrectly fall into their rightful place.

In this case, the phenomenon is quite understandable if a person has a sore jaw near the ear. This condition is considered normal. After a while, the unpleasant symptoms disappear. It should be understood that a removable denture is a foreign body for the oral cavity. For a person to get used to this design, he needs some time.

However, there is a risk that the product was selected incorrectly by the doctor. Because of this, it presses or injures the gums. In this case, inflammation can form, which leads to the fact that the jaw near the ear hurts, it hurts to chew and open the mouth.

If a person notices redness and swelling in the oral cavity, then it is necessary to consult a specialist, replace the prosthesis or resort to another type of treatment.

Injury of the jaw

If the jaw hurts near the ear to the right or left, then this may indicate that the person has received a bruise or more serious injuries. In the first case, damage to the soft tissues of the mucous membranes of the facial area could occur. The main evidence of such an injury will be the appearance of hematomas, swelling and pain when opening the mouth or while chewing food.As a rule, these symptoms disappear within 3 days. In order to alleviate your condition during this period, it is recommended to apply cold compresses to the damaged areas and exclude solid foods from the diet.

If the jaw near the ear on the right hurts, it hurts to open the mouth or it is impossible to close it on its own, then this may indicate that a dislocation of the mandibular joint has occurred on the right side. In this case, the jaws begin to tilt a little, and their fixation can only take place in the open position of the oral cavity.Such dislocations often occur when a person tries to open their mouth too much or gnaw on a hard object. In such a situation, it is necessary to consult a traumatologist and set the jaw.

If the jaw near the ear on the right hurts, it hurts to chew and there is swelling or hematoma, then this may indicate a fracture. In this case, damage can be single or multiple, with or without displacement. In such a situation, it is also necessary to consult a doctor, as it may be necessary to fix the jaw with a special splint.As a rule, you need to wear it for about 21 days.

Wisdom teeth

If the jaw hurts near the ear, then this may be due to the fact that one or more wisdom teeth begin to erupt. Not everyone knows that they grow from 14 to 30 years old, so similar problems can be observed not only in adolescents, but also in older people.

With the appearance of the last chewing teeth, patients almost always experience painful sensations. This is because the teeth push through the dense bone tissue, causing pain in the jaw.In addition, this process can lead to inflammation of the mucous membrane, the formation of purulent masses. Often, patients have an increase in body temperature, swelling of the gums and cheeks. At the same time, a person cannot fully open his mouth and experience food. The pain can be given in the area of ​​the ears, temples, neck and head.

Very often the jaw near the ear hurts in the mouth due to the fact that the germ of the wisdom tooth is not located correctly. If it begins to grow to the side, it affects the adjacent molars, tongue and cheeks.In some situations, wisdom teeth remain hidden and are located inside the bone tissue. This is because they begin to grow horizontally. In this case, the destruction of the roots of adjacent teeth occurs.

VNS dysfunction

If there is a malfunction of the mandibular joint, this can lead to unpleasant symptoms. This disease develops against the background of malocclusion, trauma, or improperly installed prostheses. Pain can also radiate to the temples and neck.In this case, it hurts patients to chew or open their mouths fully. Some people experience facial asymmetry.

In the course of treatment, it is necessary to stabilize the joint and eliminate the causes that cause this pathology.


If a person has a sore jaw near the ear on the right, this may be a symptom characteristic of inflammation of the trigeminal facial nerve. This pathology develops against the background of the fact that the nerve endings are squeezed by the blood vessels of the human brain.At the same time, it is very easy to determine neuralgia, since it will manifest itself in the form of strong, burning, resembling electric discharges, pains. In this case, the pain syndrome occurs in attacks, most often it intensifies at night, in the process of chewing or talking.

Also, among the additional symptoms of neuralgia, it is worth highlighting increased salivation and coughing. In this case, seizures appear with the lightest touch on the face. A person may experience extreme pain from washing their face, brushing their teeth, or even smiling.Treatment of this ailment involves medication. In difficult situations, surgical intervention is indispensable.


In this case, we are talking about fairly severe paroxysmal headaches, which most often spread in the temporal region, eyes and jaw. Typically, a migraine completely affects the right or left facial side. Therefore, it is not surprising that a person has a sore jaw near the ear on the left or right.

In addition, patients with neuralgia may suffer from vomiting, visual disturbances, numbness of the legs and arms.To date, specialists have not yet been able to find out why it is in particular people who develop migraines. However, antidepressants, pain relievers, and vasodilators are most commonly used to treat it.


In this case, the jaw near the ear hurts due to the inflammation of the walls of the facial arteries. In this case, discomfort may also appear in the cheek and eyes. It is painful for patients to chew, swallow and open their mouths while talking. As a rule, women over 50 years old suffer most from arteritis.

In addition, there is more than one type of this ailment. For each specific situation, the necessary treatment is prescribed.

Other causes

Pain in the jaw (upper, lower, right and left) can occur against the background:

  • Osteomyelitis. In this case, we are talking about an inflammation of the jaw. A similar pathology can develop due to improper treatment of sinusitis, tooth extraction or implantation. At the same time, patients have an increased body temperature.
  • Gingivitis. In this case, we are talking about inflammatory processes that occur in the soft tissues of the gums. In this case, bleeding and a rather severe pain syndrome are observed. A person develops bad breath and body temperature rises.
  • Submandibular abscess. In this case, patients most often complain that the jaw near the ear on the right hurts, it hurts to open the mouth and chew. Discomfort can also be observed in the left ear.

If the patient has pain syndrome only during chewing and discomfort appears in the right or left ear, then this may indicate the development of:

  • Carotidinia.This ailment develops due to dissection of the temporal artery. Also, pathology may appear against the background of the appearance of a tumor in soft tissues or with irritation of nerve endings that are located near the carotid artery.
  • Ear node neuralgia. In this case, the pathology develops against the background of severe angina, hypothermia or sinusitis. The pain is paroxysmal, burning in nature. Most of all unpleasant sensations appear in the temples. After that, the pain goes to the ear and spreads to the entire lower jaw to the chin.As a rule, the patient experiences most discomfort when pressing in the area under the ear.


If the jaw hurts near the ear, then in order to get rid of the pain at home, it is recommended to use analgesics. However, you need to understand that they will not help eliminate the initial disease, but will only temporarily reduce the level of discomfort. These drugs include analgin, Ketanov and other drugs.

If a person does not want to take risks and use medicines, then you can try traditional medicine.If the patient is sure that he has a dental disease, then it is recommended to rinse his mouth with a soda solution. To prepare it, you need to dilute 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water.

If inflammatory processes are observed, then warm chamomile compresses should be applied to the affected area. However, before using any recipe of traditional medicine, it is imperative to consult with a specialist so as not to cause even more harm.

Treatment in the clinic

Depending on the specific cause that causes the pain, the doctor can take a number of measures that will help alleviate the patient’s condition.For example, in case of dislocation, it is necessary to apply a special fixing bandage. If there is a suspicion of a bruise, then an x-ray is most often performed. This is necessary in order to exclude the possibility of a fracture.

In case of osteomyelitis, it is necessary to remove the affected tooth, open the purulent focus and undergo a course of drug therapy. If the problem lies in diseases of the ENT organs, then in this case it is necessary to undergo a course of antiviral drugs, antiseptics, and also painkillers.

Rubbing is recommended for inflammatory processes and neuralgia.