When you bite down on something hard, like a piece of ice or candy, there’s always a chance you could damage a tooth or even experience jaw pain as a result. You could also suffer accident or injury that leaves your jaw misaligned. Then there are conditions like temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMD), bruxism, or arthritis that affect the jaw.

All of these scenarios could leave your jaw in distress, but you might not necessarily know what the problem is. Because of the symptoms you experience, you might think something else is wrong. Here are just a few common signs that your jaw is in distress and you should speak with your dentist.

PAIN

Jaw disorders could result in several different types of pain, not all of them in your actual jaw. Suppose you’re suffering from bruxism, or the clenching and grinding of teeth. This could cause distress to your teeth and jaws, and while you may feel discomfort, aches, and pain in your jaw, you could also experience symptoms like unusual neck pain and stiffness, especially upon waking.

You might have ear pain that makes you think you’re suffering from an ear infection. Tooth pain could also indicate an issue with your jaw. If your symptoms persist and your doctor can’t seem to find the problem, it’s time to see your dentist. Perhaps the problem is in your jaw.

HEADACHES

If your jaw is in distress, it’s not at all uncommon to get headaches. They could be a result of swelling, stiffness, or tension in the muscles surrounding the jaw, just for example. Tension headaches that start at the neck or back of the head and cluster headaches that tend to center on one eye are a common sign that there is some issue with your jaw (although this is not the only cause of such headaches).

SINUS ISSUES

There’s a lot going on in our heads, so to speak, and considering our breathing and eating systems are so closely connected, it’s no wonder that sinus and jaw issues might go hand-in-hand. Sinus infections could cause swelling and joint pain in the jaw, and problems with the jaw could present symptoms similar to sinus infections in some cases.

TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA

You’ve probably never heard of the trigeminal nerve, which runs to the outside of the eye socket, along the cheekbone, and down the jaw, unless you’ve suffered trigeminal neuralgia. This painful condition is often confused for ear and sinus infections, but it’s actually an irritated nerve that can cause incredible face and jaw pain until treated.

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