Why Does my Jaw Hurt When I Open my Mouth?

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Although it can be distressing to feel that why does my jaw hurt when I open my mouth, it is usually not serious. It’s possible to be concerned about dental problems such as tooth decay or an abscessed tooth. You may also wonder if your teeth have been clenched nightly.

Many things can cause one-sided jaw pain. We’ll discuss the most common causes and other symptoms, as well as when you should see your dentist or doctor.

For many reasons, you may feel mouth and jaw pain simultaneously. Although these body parts may be different, they are close together.

The pain could be caused by a medical condition such as a problem in your jaw, ears, or mouth. When a portion of your body feels pain, even though it is not coming from elsewhere, it is referred pain.

Common causes

Here are some conditions that can simultaneously cause pain in your jaw when open mouth.

TMJ disorders

Your temporomandibular (TMJ) joint may be the source of your jaw and ear pain. This includes the jaw joint as well as the surrounding muscles.

The TMJ is located adjacent to your temporal bone. The TMJ is a complex organ that moves in many directions to allow you to chew and speak.

TMJ disorders can cause jaw and ear pain. A TMJ disorder can affect between 10 and 15 percent of adults. These disorders can cause inflammation and pain in the TMJ. This condition is most commonly associated with ear and facial discomfort. If you have symptoms that last more than three months, you may have a chronic TMJ disorder.

A TMJ disorder may occur from wear and tear or due to another medical condition. Your doctor might suspect that you have a TMJ disorder. However, there may be other conditions such as: fibromyalgia, Sleep Apnea, anxiety, Depression.


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in TMJ. Jaw and ear pain can be caused by it. This condition is caused by wear and tear to the cartilage around the joint. The joint may also feel stiffened.

Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis

These types of arthritis are caused by your immune system attacking healthy joints. Autoimmune conditions include rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic.

Joint pain can occur anywhere in the body, even at your TMJ. Specific triggers could cause it to flare up.


Migraine can be caused by pain in the jaw or ears close to the TMJ. Migraine attacks can cause severe headaches and may recur. They can also cause sensitivity to sound, light, and smell.

Swimmer’s ear

This is when bacteria build up in the outer ear due to water exposure or injury. This condition can be caused by swimming or when an object is thrown outside. If the condition is not treated, it can cause ear and jaw pain.


Sinusitis can cause ear and jaw discomfort. If you have allergies or a cold, this condition may occur. Your nasal passages can become inflamed and irritated. Although viruses cause most infections, you may also develop bacterial sinusitis.

Dental problems

If bacteria build up on your gums and teeth, you may develop cavities, periodontal disease, and dental abscesses. If left untreated, these conditions can cause severe damage to your mouth. These conditions can cause ear and jaw pain.

Teeth grinding

TMJ disorder is a condition whereby you have pain in your jaw and ears from grinding your teeth. This condition can:

  • How your teeth are aligned can have an impact on how you feel
  • You can erode your teeth
  • Reduce your TMJ
  • Tend to your muscles

It is possible to grind your teeth every night without realizing it until you feel pain or other symptoms.

Tips to Relief

You may not require medical attention if you feel mild or temporary pain in the jaw. If the problem isn’t severe, the pain will usually subside once resolved.

These are some ways to manage it while you wait.

  • Use heat! Heat can relax muscles and relieve stiffness.
  • Use cold compresses or ice. These may help numb the pain and can be especially helpful if there is swelling.
  • Nonprescription pain relief is an option. Temporary relief can be achieved with nonprescription pain medication, such as Tylenol (Advil) or Acetaminophen. Follow the instructions on the packaging. You should consult your healthcare provider if the prescribed dose is not practical or if you require pain relief for longer than a few days.
  • When possible, rest your jaw. You can avoid straining your jaw muscles by choosing foods that require little chewing.
  • A massage is a great option. Massage therapy can be used by a healthcare provider, physical therapist, or massage therapist to relieve tension and pain in the jaw. Some techniques can be learned on your own. These techniques may be beneficial for people with TMJ disorders.
  • Relax. Relaxation techniques can be helpful if your jaw pain is caused by grinding or clenching your teeth. Pain relief can also be achieved by relaxing your muscles.
  • Your sleeping position should be changed. Your muscles could be put under pressure if you sleep on one side or with your hand below your jaw. Your pain could be relieved by switching sides. Even if you have pain from a different cause than your original, switching sides could be an excellent option to reduce it.


Jaw pain can occur simultaneously for many reasons. The condition that affects both your jaw and ears is often related to the area of the jaw or ears. However, you may feel pain in the other part.

Talk to your doctor about the cause of the jaw or ear pain. This will allow you to treat the pain and prevent it from getting worse.

High fever, extreme pain, swelling, and difficulty swallowing are all signs that need immediate treatment. You should seek urgent care if you experience jaw pain and other symptoms.

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Recap of we just learned

  • Why Does my Jaw Hurt When I Open my Mouth?
  • Causes of Jaw Hurt When I Open my Mouth
  • TMJ disorders
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis
  • Migraine
  • Swimmer’s ear
  • Sinusitis
  • Dental problems
  • Teeth grinding
  • Tips to Relief

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