Pain in the jaw usually occurs in the area around the lower jaw, temporomandibular joint or the tissue surrounding the jaw. Right jaw pain causes a lot of discomfort to the person suffering from it. Jaw joint is one of the most used joints in our body and thus making it vulnerable to strain. The joint connecting the temporal bone in the skull to the bone in the lower jaw is known as temporomandibular joint. Right jaw pain is the pain particularly on the right side of the jaw signaling trouble with the tissues in these areas. Pain in the right jaw might occur due to some injury or health issues. Consulting a doctor will give a better understanding of the reason behind the right jaw pain.
Complications of right jaw pain
Number of complications is attached with the right jaw pain. These include pain in the shoulders, neck, teeth and/or ears. Other common problems associated with right jaw pain are headache, dizziness, popping or clicking sound while yawning or chewing. At times the area around the jaw even swells leading to numbness of the tongue and fever. Opening the mouth becomes very difficult in case of right jaw pain. Other potentially life threatening conditions that might develop due to pain in the right jaw include difficulty in swallowing, excessive sweating, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, nausea and chest pain.
Causes of right jaw pain
- Trigeminal neuralgia :- Trigeminal Neuralgia also known as doulourex is a disorder that causes pain in the left or right jaw or even sometimes pain on the face. This condition is usually restricted to one side but sometimes it might affect both the sides. The disease is also at times referred to as the suicide disease because the pain becomes agonizing after a certain point of time. The pain last for about few days or even for few months in certain extreme circumstances. Any pressure to the trigeminal nerves can increase the pain such as eating, brushing the teeth or coming in contact with strong wind. Consult a doctor to get medicated. In certain acute cases even surgeries are suggested by doctors to cure the same.
- Sinuses :- Exposure to virus, fungi, bacteria and other allergens can make the sinus inflamed. Swollen sinuses can cause pain in the jaw and the face. Few of the common symptoms of sinus include common cold or respiratory infections. The location of irritation and pain will depend upon the type of the sinus cavity irritated and inflamed. Inflammation of sinus puts pressure on the jaw and teeth and thus in turn leads to unbearable pain in the area around it.
- Temporomandibular joint Dysfunction :- Any dysfunctioning in the joints connecting the jaw to skull and the surrounding areas is the common cause of right jaw pain. The areas around the jaw are quite susceptible to damage. Few ways in which it might get damaged are misalignment of teeth, grinding of teeth or arthritis. Frequent chewing of gum or clenching of cheeks also creates irritation and pain in and around the area. The condition gets worse when one tries to open his or her mouth.
- Trauma :- Trauma also known as injury trauma is generally caused due to vehicle or sport accident and can cause the area around the jaw pain. In this case people have difficulty in opening their mouth or notice the teeth becoming misaligned. You might even observe swelling, tightening, bruising and bleeding in the area around the jaw.
- Bruxism :- Bruxism occurs due to clenching of jaw or grinding of teeth while sleeping. This can even cause earache, tooth pain, facial pain, jaw pain or headaches. Anxiety, insomnia or depression are few causes of teeth grinding.
- Dental problems :- One of the most common and important reason for right jaw pain are dental problems. Breaking or extraction of tooth, oral surgeries of tooth cavities or having a filling done can cause the jaw to sit out of alignment thus causing jaw pain. In certain cases even gingivitis or gum infection might make the jaw sore. Even deep seated wisdom tooth is also one of the reason discomfort in the jaw.
- Bony growths :- Jawbone or temporomandibular lead to formation of spurs or bony growths. This problem is common among the old age people. The jaw feels the wear and tear which becomes painful at times.
- Other conditions :- Other conditions not mentioned above include lyme disease, head or neck cancer, migraines, parotid glands, tetanus, cysts, tumors in the jaw, actinomycosis or osteomyelitis can also cause right jaw pain.
- Jaw Arthritis :- The jaw is fairly vulnerable to mounting osteoarthritis, infectious arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. This may be initiated by monotonous use of the joint, aging or trauma. In this case symptoms may vary built on the nature of the arthritis affecting the joint. Pain may appear on both sides of the jaw, the jaw may become inflamed or you may have trouble moving the jaw when arthritis sets in.
Symptoms of Right Jaw Pain
Some of the symptoms accompanying right jaw pain are:
- Pain or tenderness near the joint area, face, shoulder, neck area
- Pain on chewing or biting
- Pain or stress on the jaw on opening the mouth
- Freezing or locking of the jaw on opening mouth
- Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw on opening and closing the mouth
- Seldom tired feeling in the face
- Sleepy or tired eyes
- Swelling or inflammation on the right side of the face
Diagnosis of right jaw pain
Until the exact cause right jaw pain is not ascertained, you may have to undergo several diagnostic tests as the reason can be dental, neurological or simply bone related.
The first point of contact should be your dentist, who will perform a complete check of your teeth, jaw joint and facial muscles. The dentist may take a full facial x-ray to rule out problems related to dental and oral health. You may be asked to undergo elaborate tests like MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or CT scan to study the jaw joint in detail. You may also be referred to an orthodontist or oral surgeon depending upon the diagnosis.
If the problem is associated with sinus or neuralgia, you may be referred to an ENT specialist or neurologist.
Treatments and prevention’s of right jaw pain
Treatment of right jaw pain will depend upon the cause of the pain. Some of the most common ways of treating and preventing the same are mentioned below –
- Try relaxing your jaw and face.
- Teeth realignment. Get your teeth realigned by a dentist. Realigning will help you relieve the pain especially in case of children who are still waiting for their permanent teeth to develop.
- Maintain dental hygiene. Dental infections also cause pain. Try maintaining a proper dental hygiene to prevent jaw pain.
- Use sturdy pillows. Avoid balancing your phone between your shoulder and your face to prevent overstressing. This position will cause stress to the areas around the jaw leading to unbearable pain.
- Medication. can even use medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to get relief from pain. These medicines are available over the counter.
- People suffering from bruxism or TMD must visit their doctors to get a splint made which will prevent the teeth from grinding during sleep. Grinding of teeth can cause pain in the area around the jaw. Sometimes people even opt for intra – aural devices which are inserted in the ears to reduce pressure on the joints.
- Exercise.You can even perform stress relieving exercises to get relief from jaw pain. Consult your doctor and ask about few exercises which will help you get rid of pain.
- Surgery. In severe cases dentist even perform surgeries to realign the jaw line so that the person get permanent relief from pain and irritation.
- Use moist cold or heat packs. Apply an ice pack on the affected side for about 10-15 minutes. Once you are done, apply a heat pack on the same area for about 5-6 minutes. Repeat the activity 2-3 times a day for quick relief from pain and inflammation.
- Opt for easy chewable/soft foods. Eat food that is soft and easily chewable. Try to eat smaller portion and chew slowly. Until the pain subsides, you can include mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, cheese, soup, fish and boiled fruits and vegetables in your diet. Avoid hard and crunchy food items like pizza, chips, nachos and so on.
- Avoid risky jaw movements. Keep yawning and chewing (especially gum or ice) to the lowest and don’t shout, sing, or do anything that powers you to open your mouth wide.
- Radio wave therapy. Radio waves arouse the joint, which surges blood flow and comforts pain.
- Lower-level laser therapy. This drops pain and swelling and aids you move your neck freely and open your mouth broader.
- Arthrocentesis. Arthrocentesis is majorly used if you have minor pain but your jaws are locked. It’s a minor method in which the dentist will administer general anesthesia, then insert needles into the joint and wash it out. He may use a special tool to get rid of damaged tissue or dislodge a disc stuck in the joint, or to unstick the joint itself.