8 Causes of Pain in Jaw and Cheekbones

Are you experiencing sudden pain in cheekbones and jaw or pain in cheekbones and teeth? There can be quite a few causes of this symptomatic pain. It might be TMJ pain, might be tooth ache or some other cause. This pain may affect your ability to eat and speak or even hinder your day-to-day tasks.

Mostly, the throbbing begins from your jaw or teeth, then sometimes radiate to other parts of your face such as cheekbone and head. Under some cases it might be that you need to obtain necessary medical attention for the underlying condition. It can be that you might require sinus treatment or TMJ pain treatment, or the treatment for infection in teeth and gums.

While determining the exact cause for this pain is challenging, here are some of the most common disorders associated with it:

  1. You might have a TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder: This type of jaw disorder is caused when the disc that separates the bones in the joint between the skull and jaw becomes misaligned or is damaged. Along with pain in the cheekbones and jaw, you might experience other TMJ disorder symptoms like clicking, popping noise when opening your mouth, difficulty opening and closing your mouth if the joint locks, earache, and tenderness in your jaw. TMJ disorder is in turn caused by many problems — like teeth clenching or grinding because of stress and arthritis. Other common causes of TMJ disorder include a jaw infection or an injury that might have caused tissue damage, tooth damage, misalignment, or jaw injury.
  2. You might have sinusitis: One of the major sinusitis or sinus infection symptoms is developing intense pain in the cheekbones and jaw, along with other symptoms like a runny nose, headache, nasal congestion, and facial pain in your cheeks.
  3. You might have a tooth abscess: Bad dental hygiene over the years can assimilate towards causing a tooth abscess — a bacterial infection that affects teeth, gums, and bones that can spread to your cheekbones and surrounding tissue. This bacterial infection can cause symptoms like pain in cheekbones and teeth, bleeding, and swelling.
  4. You might suffer from trigeminal neuralgia: The trigeminal nerve is part of the three-part nerve in your head responsible for sending pain, touch, and temperature sensations from your face to your brain. One of the major symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia is cheekbone pain on one side, pain that feels like a constant ache or burn or twitching in your face.
  5. If you have undergone a recent dental procedure: If you have undergone a recent dental procedure, it is normal to suffer from cheekbone and jaw pain. But if you experience pain and swelling in your cheeks and jaw even after 3 to 4 days after your procedure, you should immediately call a doctor.
  6. If you suffer from bruxism: Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can cause intense pain in the cheekbones and jaw. Most people who suffer from bruxism grind their teeth at night.
  7. If you have a periodontal disease: Periodontal disease or gum disease can also cause extremely painful cheekbones and jaws. Periodontal disease is often caused because of poor dental hygiene habits — and if left untreated, can cause severe jaw pain and tooth loss and can spread to other parts of your body. Research has also established a link between gum disease and heart disease.
  8. If you have a coronary artery disease: One of the major symptoms of coronary artery disease — or a heart attack, other than chest pain, is also facial pain that manifests itself in the discomfort of the jaw, cheek, and neck.

If you have mild or temporary pain in the cheekbones and jaw, you might be able to manage the pain at home.

Here are a few ways of easing your pain:

  • Use a hot water bag to relax your muscles and relieve aches and pains.
  • You can also use a cold compress to ease your pain.
  • Try pain killers that are available over the counter.
  • Try to choose foods that don’t require a lot of chewing.
  • Finally, if you think your jaw pain is caused due to stress, try and relax.
  • Change your sleeping position.

If the pain in the cheekbones and jaw is chronic and accompanied by other symptoms, it is time to see a doctor to diagnose and understand a proper treatment route.

Author Bio:

Shen Chao is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Smile Clinic. While working for the Smile Clinic, he’s gained first hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. When he’s not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends.


  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-in-cheekbone-and-teeth
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325116
  3. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/temporomandibular-disorder/whats-causing-your-facial-and-jaw-pain
  4. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/ss/slideshow-reasons-facial-pain

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