Jaw Bone Pain
Jaw Bone Pain is one of those topics that I think is poorly covered
by most health websites. When I had a look around online to see if I
felt this was an area that I could contribute to, I was surprised by
the lack of information. Sure, there were plenty of results on Google,
but the information available wasn't great, even on the sites written
So, here's my contribution to the topic of Jaw Bone Pain, the
possible causes, what to look for, and possible treatment options!
First off, let's deal with the causes that are pretty obvious; you
will already have a good idea of what's causing your pain.
- Trauma. This is where you've been hit in the jaw, whether it's in
a car or motorcycle accident, a sports injury, assault, i.e.. with a
baseball bat, or something similar. You KNOW you've taken a hit,
however it happened. And now you have jaw bone pain.
- Surgery. Where you've had some sort of jaw surgery, such a a
wisdom tooth extraction, a dental implant procedure, or some other
dental surgery. Again, you KNOW you've had something happen to your
jaw, and you have jaw pain. If you've had a tooth extraction, you
should look at Pain
After Tooth Extraction
So what's causing the pain in the two situations above? In both
cases, the basic cause is ACUTE INFLAMATION. Imagine you've hit your
thumb with a hammer. The pain you get afterwards is from acute
inflammation, where the body is trying to repair the tissue damage that
has occurred. The affected area swells up, as blood circulation
increases and tissue fluid leaks out of the blood vessels into the
surrounding tissues. White blood cells flood the area, trying to deal
with any possible bacteria and also removing dead cells. This whole
What can you do to reduce the pain?
There are three possible things you can do;
- Take anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen. I recommend 600mg every 8 hours.
- Cool the area with cold packs. A bag of frozen peas, for example,
can work well.
- Avoid excessive movement of the area, and keep it elevated. These
are basic surgical principles that are less easy to implement where you
have a sore jaw, but basically it means moving your jaw as little as
possible (try to avoid yawning, eating hard or chewy foods), and keep
your head above your heart - ie. avoid lying down flat. Keep your head
Jaw Bone Pain
An ADDITIONAL possibility after trauma to your jaws is of course a
broken jaw or jaw bone fracture.
Sometimes, it's NOT obvious you've got a broken jaw, and if you're
sitting at home reading this instead of getting treatment in the ER
then it's likely you're wondering about whether you've broken your jaw
What are the signs of a broken jaw that you should look for?
- You will be finding it difficult to move your lower jaw,
whether it's from side to side or else just trying to open your mouth
in a straight line.
- When you DO try to open your mouth, you can only open it
slightly, and it's painful.
- When you try to bring your molar teeth together, they don't
meet up like normal. They may meet on one side of your mouth, but
there's a gap between your top and bottom back teeth on the other side.
- You may also feel that your jaw is "out of line", or somehow it
doesn't feel like it's sitting straight.
- And of course, you're likely to have an intense pain in one
area of your jaw.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER CAUSES OF JAW BONE PAIN?
The next possibilities are NOT obvious, unlike trauma or recent
- The most common cause will be a DENTAL INFECTION of some sort.
may be an
Abscess on the root of a Dead
- More seriously, it could be a Jaw
Bone Infection , which includes osteomyelitis.
- Less commonly, jaw bone pain can be caused by a large cyst in
the bone. This can also cause a hard, bony swelling, and sometimes a
tingling or sensation of numbness in the lower lip and chin area, as
the expanding cyst presses on the main nerve of the lower jaw.
cyst becomes infected, then symptoms develop more quickly, over a
shorter period of time compared to the gradual, slow expansion of a
typical jaw bone cyst.
A cyst is a fluid-filled cavity within the bone of the jaw. Some
contain hair or skin cells, others may contain tooth material (a
dentigerous cyst). Treatment is by surgery to remove the cyst. Outlook
- A sinus infection can cause quite severe pain in the upper
jaw bone, just under the eye on the affected side, often accompanied by
what feels like toothache in the teeth just below the sinus. Normally
there are additional symptoms of blocked nose, earache, and sometimes
puffiness under the eye.Treatment is with antibiotics and
decongestants. Outlook is excellent. Occasionally, surgery may be needed to improve the drainage of the sinus.
- Nerve compression in the lower jaw can cause marked jaw bone
pain, when it's caused by a lower full denture pressing on the nerve
that supplies the chin area on the affected side. This occurs mainly in
older patients, where the lower jaw bone has shrunk significantly,
exposing the nerve under the gum to pressure from a denture. Treatment
involves adjusting or re-lining the denture. Outlook is moderate.
- Jaw bone cancer can cause significant jaw bone pain, usually
when it's more advanced. It is accompanied by a slight swelling of the
jaw bone, and maybe a numbness or tingling in addition to the pain. For
more information about this, go to jaw
The cancer may be either primary, where it is the
only cancer in the body, or else it may be secondary, where the cancer
cells have travelled to the jaw bone from another tumour elsewhere in
the body, even after the first tumour has been successfully treated,
such as kidney cancer.
Treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, or
radiotherapy, sometimes a combination. Outlook depends on several
things, mainly how advanced the tumour is.
- Pain the the jaw bone near the ear may be from the jaw joint,
usually caused by intense tooth grinding (especially at night, when you
are deeply asleep); sometimes it is caused by a general joint condition
such as arthritis or rheumatism; the last possibility is where the jaw
joint has had a trauma, where it's taken a blow or been hit by
something. Treatment may include a bite splint to wear at night,
anti-inflammatory drugs, and rest.
- FINALLY, jaw bone pain may be caused by a neuralgia such as
trigeminal neuralgia, although it's rare to experience the pain only in
the jaw bone. The pain typically affects the whole side of the face.
Treatment is by medication, with varying degrees of success. Surgery
may also be suggested, but it can be risky
MY GUIDE TO JAW BONE PAIN cannot be exhaustive; there are
other, rare, conditions that may also cause pain in a jaw bone. If the
cause of your jaw bone pain is relatively clear, then you can follow my
recommendations. In all other cases, especially where there is swelling
and tingling sensations, you should get a medical opinion.