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Causes of Jaw Bone Pain

Many conditions can cause jaw bone pain. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, some types of jaw bone pain can be caused by conditions outside the jaw bone, such as a heart attack. Most jaw bone pain, however, is caused by problems within or around the jawbone itself. The jaw bone, also known as the mandible, forms the lower portion of the jaw and keeps the lower teeth in place.

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Osteomyelitis can cause jaw bone pain 1. According to the Cleveland Clinic--one of America's top hospitals--osteomyelitis is a bone infection caused by numerous types of microbial agents 1. The most common cause of osteomyelitis is the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. The Cleveland Clinic states that osteomyelitis is a serious condition, as it can reduce blood flow to the involved bone 1. If the bone does not receive a sufficient supply of blood, its tissues can die. Osteomyelitis often affects long bones, such as the humerus or arm bone and the femur or thigh bone, although it can also affect the mandible. According to the Cleveland Clinic, osteomyelitis occurs in about one in every 5,000 individuals 1.

Mandibular Fractures

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Mandibular fractures, also known as a fractured jaw, can cause jaw bone pain. The Merck Manuals website states that a fractured jaw causes pain in the affected area and alters the way the upper and lower teeth contact each other 2. A fractured jaw usually impairs a person's ability to open his mouth wide, or it causes the jaw to shift to one side upon mouth opening or closing. According to the Merck Manuals website, blunt-force jaw trauma can also cause cervical spine or neck injuries, a concussion or bleeding inside the skull 2. The Merck Manuals website states that many mandibular fractures require a period of jaw immobilization to assist healing and recovery 2.

Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess can cause jaw bone pain 3. According to the Mayo Clinic website, a tooth abscess is an accumulation of pus caused by a bacterial infection within a tooth 3. The most common cause of a tooth abscess is an untreated dental cavity, although a crack or chip in the tooth can also allow bacteria entry into the inner tooth 3. Possible risk factors for a tooth abscess include inadequate oral and dental hygiene, consuming too much refined sugar and any underlying health condition that compromises a person's immune system 3.