You are currently viewing Jaw Pain from Tooth Infection- A Guide to Pain Relief


Jaw pain from a tooth infection can disrupt your daily routine. The pain, agony, and poor dental health can lead to debilitating overall health.
And you would not want that? Will you.
Jaw pain can result from many reasons, including teeth grinding or trauma. However, when you have frequent headaches, or it becomes difficult to open your mouth- you need to check for jaw pain from an infected tooth.
To fight dental problems and maintain pain-free dental health, learning about the symptoms of Jaw pain from a tooth infection and treatments is essential. Moreover, we are can help you maintain great oral hygiene.

Jaw Pain from Tooth Infection- What must you know?

Headaches, pain from biting, swollen gums, and jaw pain are no fun, especially when all the symptoms occur together.

We have two jaws in the face; upper and lower. Each jaw contains 16 teeth in adulthood and is responsible for many functions, including chewing, opening and closing the mouth.
The lower jaw is connected to the skull through Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). This joint is positioned in front of the ears, on each side.

This is why, if jaw pain from tooth abscess occurs, your ears, head, neck, and even eyes are affected.
The first question that may bother me is how does jaw pain from tooth infection occur?

Well, when a tooth decays, the bacteria invade the inner layers. If the rotten teeth are not treated at the right time, the bacteria can cause tooth infection. Furthermore, the infected tooth can cause pus to tooth abscess- the main culprit behind all the painful chaos.


What is Tooth Abscess?

A dental abscess or tooth abscess is the accumulation of pus from a bacterial infection (usually it is seen as a pocket of pus). A tooth abscess can occur inside the tooth, gums, or even in the bone.

However, there are two common locations of a dental abscess:

1. Periapical abscess: When the pus results from inside the tooth and accumulates at the bottom of the infected tooth.
2. Periodontal abscess: When the pus results in the gum and assembles anywhere around the tooth.

The most concerning thing about tooth abscesses is that they are often painless. While dental pain may not be good for you, it helps you know something bad is going on. Therefore, you can visit the dentist and get the treatment.

If an abscess occurs and is not painful, it will go unnoticed for a long time, leading to dire consequences. Even jaw pain from an infected tooth is also an advanced symptom. If it occurs, the tooth has been in bad health for a long time.

Moreover, if a dental abscess spreads, it does not only cause jaw pain. Following jaw pain, the infection can invade to other body parts causing fever or restlessness. The worst-case scenario can cause a heart infection by spreading into the blood.

This is why you may hear the dental personnel often say that “pain is a blessing”- it helps diagnose diseases in their early stages.

Worry not; even if there is no pain, other symptoms can help you know if you have jaw pain from tooth infection or tooth abscess.

sign of tooth infection

Symptoms of Tooth Infection- Dental Abscess

They share similar symptoms, whether the abscess occurs in the tooth or the gums. Here are some of the symptoms that will indicate that you have a tooth infection:

Mild or severe throbbing toothache:

Dental pain occurs in episodes; the pain comes and goes like a shooting sensation. If you have jaw pain from a tooth abscess, the toothache can spread to the neck, ears, and head. You will also experience jaw pain from tooth abscesses if you ignore the symptoms.

Pain increases at nighttime:

Does your pain worsen at night?
When you lay down, the pressure of blood increases in the head and neck region. If a pocket of pus is forming around a tooth, the increase in pressure will increase the tooth infection pain in jaw and other areas. The pain can be so bad that you will have difficulty sleeping.

Swollen gums and face:

If your gums are turning red and swollen, it is time to check for an abscess. Because of an untreated infection, swelling can occur in the gums around the tooth. The swelling can increase rapidly, causing redness and swelling in the face.

Loose tooth:

An infected tooth becomes tender (painful to touch), discolored over time, and often, it will become loose due to an abscess.

Pain on biting:

If you only feel pain in biting or chewing your food and not at any other time, there can be pus in that region. As you eat, the pressure increases on the infected tooth and becomes painful.


This is one of the most common symptoms. If you feel sensitivity to hot and cold food, even to air in a particular area in your mouth, get it checked. It is hardly ever that a generalized sensitivity occurs due to an abscess. Not unless it is severe.

Bad taste and bad breath (Halitosis):

What happens if you leave a wound on your skin untreated?
Over time, it debilitates and smells bad.

Similarly, a tooth infection lingers in the mouth and creates a bad smell. Moreover, it causes a bad, metal-like taste in the mouth.

Symptoms of Tooth Infection Spreading to Jaw

All of these symptoms relate to a dental abscess. They can or cannot occur with jaw pain. However, to distinguish that you have jaw pain from an infected tooth, here is what you need to know.

  • Jaw pain from tooth infection causes discomfort while closing and opening the mouth
  • Pain on biting
  • Tooth infection pain in jaw bone and TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint)
  • Shooting pain and running sensation in ears
  • Frequent headaches
  • Pain spreading to eyes
  • Swollen or puffiness around or below the eyes
  • Clicking sound in TMJ when you open or close your mouth
  • Swollen and redness in lymph nodes in the neck (under the jaw)
  • Along with all other symptoms

While you may think that jaw pain from tooth abscesses is terrifying, it is. If the tooth abscess spreads to other parts of the body apart from the jaw, the symptoms will worsen.

Tooth infection pain in the jaw mostly indicates the first sign of a dental abscess spreading. Other symptoms indicate tooth abscess is spreading to your body, including:

  • You feel unwell and nauseated
  • You may fall prey to fever frequently (often high-spiking fever)
  • Swelling in the face and the neck
  • Increases sweating and dehydration
  • Increase in breathing and heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Stomachache

Do not skip your dental appointments if you want to stop jaw pain from an infected tooth and other symptoms from spreading to the body.

jaw pain from infected tooth

Causes of Jaw Pain from Tooth Infection

To treat the symptoms, it is vital to find and treat the cause. Jaw pain can result from many underlying problems, such as:

  • Myofascial pain due to nerve problems
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
  • Jaw pain from trauma
  • Oral fibrosis or oral cancer
  • Sinus infection
  • And, of course, jaw pain from tooth abscess

If you have a dental abscess, it gets easy to treat jaw pain and restore your dental health.
The most common causes that tooth abscess that can cause unbearable jaw pain are:

Untreated dental problems:

A bacterial infection in the mouth results from untreated and neglected dental problems. You need to get the treatment if you have a dental cavity or a misshapen (broken, chipped off, or fractured) tooth. Ignoring dental problems leads to an infection that causes jaw pain.

Gum diseases:

Do you know that your teeth can be perfectly healthy, yet you can get a tooth infection?
Gum diseases can also invite bacteria to cause infection. Untreated gum infections can attack your healthy teeth, causing a tooth abscess around them. When this infection spreads to the jaw, you know what happens next.

Growing wisdom tooth:

This is a common cause. When a wisdom tooth grows in the mouth (erupts), it can cause infection in the tooth or the surrounding gums. As the wisdom tooth comes in each corner of the mouth, jaw pain is common even if there is no tooth abscess.
However, as the wisdom tooth fully grows, the pain subsides.

Sinus infection:

Although rare, jaw and tooth pain from a sinus infection is not unheard of. Your teeth and gums can be healthy. Nevertheless, if you have a sinus infection, you can experience the same symptoms as from a tooth abscess.
Discuss with your consultant or doctor if you have a sinus infection. Then proceed for the dental treatment of jaw and tooth pain from a sinus infection.

Other dental and oral health problems:

Often, a tooth abscess can occur as a secondary symptom to another problem. Some of the oral health problems that can cause jaw pain from tooth abscess include:

• Malocclusion and mal-alignment – a crossbite, open bite, or overbite in teeth
• Fibrosis of soft tissues- Oral Sub mucous Fibrosis (OSF)
• Ulcers in mouth
• Dry mouth
• Oral cancer

Bacteria will invade and attack your teeth, gums, and jawbone at the first chance they get. The best way to keep your oral and overall health intact is to prevent these bacteria from entering your body. However, that is not always possible.

What is possible is to take precautions to prevent jaw pain from an infected tooth and seek treatment in the early stages.

Treatment for Jaw Pain from Tooth Infection

From the above explanation, hope you had gotten a clear picture of tooth infection pain in the jaw- now what? You have to get the treatment.

The treatment options, but all depend on your symptoms. To treat your actual problem, the dental personnel must first detect the infection and other symptoms.

Because if a patient has a spiking fever, swollen face, and severe pain and infection, they will not let you touch them.
Patient education is important for effective treatment.

Treatment options

The dentist will defer the treatment for a while if the patient has a severe infection. They will prescribe antibiotics and painkillers for a few days and then call you again. They will check if there was an improvement in the jaw from the tooth infection.

The dentist will begin the treatment as soon as the infection settles down.

Scaling and polishing: If you have any dental problem, including jaw pain from tooth infection as a result of gum problems and tartar in your mouth, the dentist will perform a deep professional dental cleaning

Dental fillings: For dental cavities or misshapen teeth, the dentist will restore the tooth with a filling

Root canal therapy: If the bacteria invade the pulp (soft and living tissue in a tooth), the infection can be aggressive. Root canal therapy can eliminate the infection from the inner canals and then restores the tooth
Tooth extraction is the last option when the bacterium damages the teeth beyond repair. If the tooth is loose or cannot be saved, the dentist will remove it

Treatment for other problems: If the jaw and tooth pain is from a sinus infection or any other problem like malocclusions- they will also need treatment. Else, the infection will resolve temporarily and occur again.

Usually, every treatment is followed by a dose of medications and instructions for aftercare. If you follow suit, the tooth infection pain in the jaw and all other symptoms will disappear. In addition, you will have a pain-free smile soon.

Treatment for Jaw Pain

Tooth Abscess Pain Relief- Fast and Effective Methods

If you are having extreme jaw pain from tooth abscess during the night, or it is not possible to go to a dentist, you can try the following pain relief methods at home:

• Cold packs on your face to relieve swelling
• Massage your gums or put some clove oil on the affected area
• Rinses with lukewarm salt water (avoid slat if you have high blood pressure)
• Over-the-counter painkillers
• Do not use any other medications if it is not in your prescription
• Go to the dental clinic as soon as possible

Once you are in the dental vicinity, you are in safe hands.

The dental professional will inform you about different options to treat tooth infection pain in the jaw.

Prevent Jaw Pain from Tooth Infection

Symptoms and treatments for jaw pain from tooth abscesses are scary. However, we are coming to the good part.
Dental problems, including tooth infection pain in jaw, are preventable. Here is how-

1. Practice good oral hygiene: The best way to kill bad bacteria is to brush your teeth twice daily. Use dental floss and mouthwash (get it recommended by your dentist). Ensure that you follow the right technique for brushing and flossing. Consult with your dentist on this.

2. Avoid unhealthy and sugary foods and beverages: The root cause of most dental problems, especially cavities, is poor eating and drinking habits. Avoid sugary and sticky food. Eat healthily and rinse your mouth after every meal to avoid jaw pain from tooth infection.

3. Get treatment for oral health problems: Never neglect dental or oral problems. No matter how small they are. Because these small problems turn into disasters like jaw pain from a tooth infection, dental problems, once they begin, are irreversible. They will only get worse with time. So, get the treatment while you have time.

4. Check for any debilitating health issues: If you have underlying medical conditions like diabetes, stomach acidity or sinus infection, regularly visit your doctor. Maintain a good lifestyle and take your medications on time. Remember, diabetes can cause gum problems.

5. Routine dental exams and check-ups: While you maintain good oral hygiene, you cannot often see dental problems like small cavities in your mouth. Nevertheless, your dentist can. Therefore, regular visits to the dental clinic, twice yearly, can ensure great dental health.

dental problem

Jaw and Tooth Pain from Sinus Infection

While we have talked all about jaw pain and its relation to a tooth infection, there is one more thing you must be aware of. Often, jaw and tooth pain results from a sinus infection, not a tooth infection.

Do you know that every year almost 30 million people in the US get a confirmed diagnosis of a sinus infection?
And these people suffer from jaw pain and toothache commonly.

Your face has four main air cavity sinuses (maxillary, ethmoid, frontal, and sphenoid). Sinus infection can occur from an allergy or irritation from chemicals. The most common symptoms are jaw and tooth pain from a sinus infection and not a dental abscess.

But, how do you know that?

Symptoms of Jaw and Tooth Pain from Sinus Infection

Here is how you can tell if you have jaw and tooth pain from sinus infection:

  • Healthy teeth and gums
  • History of triggering headaches and allergy
  • Difficulty in breathing during the night
  • Frequently having a runny nose
  • Pain radiating towards the jaw, teeth, and even back of the neck
  • And of course, history and confirm the diagnosis of sinus infections

Treatment Options

To get the right treatment for jaw and tooth pain from sinus infection, it is vital to tell it apart from your tooth abscess. While you may find it all confusing, it will be best for you to visit your dentist.

If your dentist confirms that your oral cavity- including your gums and teeth is in great health, you can get the treatment for sinus infection.

The dentist will defer you to your consultant physician. They may start you on an antibiotic and pain killer regime to relieve the jaw and tooth pain from sinus infection. As the sinus infection settles down, your symptoms will go away.
Meanwhile, keep practicing great oral hygiene. You never know when bacteria start harboring in your mouth causing a tooth infection.


Live a Pain-Free Life

Jaw pain from tooth infection is annoying for anyone. Painful days and sleepless nights can negatively impact your mood and your lifestyle. And we don’t expect that situation. Live a healthy life with a healthy, pain-free smile by taking care of your dental health.


 FAQs – Jaw Pain from Tooth Infection

Is jaw pain a sign of tooth infection?

Yes, it can. Tooth infection pain in jaw is often accompanied by headaches, earaches, and swollen face.
Jaw pain can result due to many reasons, such as:
• TMJ dysfunction
• Nerve problems (Myofacial pain)
• Oral health problems (Cancer, Fibrosis)
• Trauma
• Sinus infection
• Tooth infection

How to relieve jaw pain from tooth abscess?

To relieve jaw pain from a tooth infection, it is important to treat the cause. Treating the tooth with antibiotics and painkillers, followed by treatment for dental problems, including:
• Dental fillings
• Root canal treatment
• Tooth removal

What happens if tooth infection spreads to the jaw?

When an untreated tooth infection spreads to your jaws, it can cause debilitating symptoms.
The following things will happen if this happens:
• Jaw pain from tooth infection
• Swollen and red face
• Puffiness around the eyes
• Frequent headaches
• Earaches

You may also love to read –