I have pain in my jaw hinge area, do I go to a dentist or a doctor?

Subject says it all, but I’ve had this pain on the interior of my jaw for about a week and it’s kind of hard to place. If you drew a line from the bottom of my earlobe to the corner of my lips, the pain would be centered about an inch or so from my earlobe, not on the surface but maybe a few cm deep. Do I go to the doctor or dentist to see about this?

Go to the one that gives you the appointment first.

From there you can get referrals, if needed.

Good luck getting a diagnosis. No one cares about TMJ anymore. That’s prolly what it is, imo.

I’d say a dentist, but like the previous person said, if you can get into a GP first, go with that (ignoring the financial issues if the GP tells you to see a dentist).

It may not be the new hot thing, but it’s still a thing and it’s still diagnosed and dealt with. In fact, I deal with several physical therapists that get referrals from dentists for just this reason.

Funny thing about what you said though. Having something get so over diagnosed that everyone that even kinda sorta shows signs of maybe having it gets labeled as having it, ends up resulting in people not getting diagnosed with it. I’ve heard it said that AD(H)D is one of the most underdiagnosed things out there. For a while it was so over diagnosed that it resulted in parents, teachers, doctors etc not wanting to slap that label on every kid that acted like an idiot for 30 seconds and now kids that really and truly do have it can have a difficult time getting the treatment they need. But there’s more of an art to diagnosing and treating that than asking someone where and when it they have physical pain.
There’s also something called Trigeminal Neuralgia that I know next to nothing about other than that a few dopers have mentioned it. You might want to google that to see if any of it sounds familiar. While that would be a GP or neurological issue, a dentist would/should be familiar enough with it to recognize it.

Lastly, just for shits and giggles, you don’t have a cold or a stuffy nose do you? I’ve ended up in urgent care (if it’s on the weekends) with sinus infections a few times. If it feels like your upper molars are being pushed out of your face it could be that as well. Doubly so if you’re blowing out green snot.

If you can feel any sort of a lump there it might be a salivary stone, which will clear itself in time:


I had a pain near my inner ear so I went to an ear-nose-throat specialist (he is also the only doctor I hold in very high regard within an hour’s drive). He quickly diagnosed it as a jaw-hinge problem!

Due to missing teeth I had been chewing food asymmetrically. He told me to chew more symmetrically! The pain soon disappeared and hasn’t come back, though I now make no special effort when chewing. (Others? Do your medical ailments sometimes go away just because you’re told what they are?)

i had a fairly similar pain a few months ago and the dentist’s conclusion was residual inflammation from a sinus infection (mainly because x-rays showed nothing.)

i never would’ve linked the two on my own, but sure enough the pain just went away after another week or so.

ENTs are a good choice for TMJ type problems, even if the problem is something else like the inner ear or sinuses.


Due to missing teeth I had been chewing food asymmetrically. He told me to chew more symmetrically! The pain soon disappeared and hasn’t come back, though I now make no special effort when chewing. (Others? Do your medical ailments sometimes go away just because you’re told what they are?)

It’s all part of the placebo effect. The formality, the ritual, the trappings of office, all of it contributes to better outcomes.

But why are you concerned? If you suspect possible heart problems, why aren’t you in an Emergency Room? Seriously!

When did you last visit your dentist? Maybe you should make an appointment, if only to say 'ello? You can also make an appointment to visit your doctor, if only for a general check up. But if you’re worried about heart failure???

just sayin’

This is the busiest time of year for dentists. I’d recommend going to a physician first.

Did I mention something about heart problems that I’m not aware of? This pain is coming from my jaw.

Although I still plan on going to the dr, I see some of you are trying to help diagnose this, so thank you. Here is some more info that may help:

The pain is constant but If I clinch my teeth it intensifies, feels like it spreads to the my upper back teeth roots on that side of my face. If I take my finger and press everywhere back there inside my mouth I can’t cause the pain to intensify. This may or may not be related, but I noticed at the same time this pain started that if I turn my head from side to side I internally hear, but don’t feel, several popping sounds coming from the the back of my neck, kind of like a muted knuckle cracking. I got my wife to put her ear to the back of my neck and she could hear it too.

I’m not quite 40 but I feel like I’m falling apart.

I couldn’t tell you what all that means, but a while back I ran across a dentist on facebook what specialized in diagnosing this type of stuff. One of the things he shows (this was to teach other DDSes) was to the patient bite down on something. Pain when biting meant one thing, no pain when biting, but pain when releasing meant something else.
One of them meant a crack, one of them meant something else. It was interesting until I realized that I had spent far too long watching videos about the nuances of tooth pain.
Wonder if I can find it again…

Eh, just go see a dentist. They’ll probably send you to a specialist unless they have some really good TMJD knowledge of their own. It can be a really complex disorder that affects everyone in very different ways so it’d be really hard for anyone here to give you any sort of TMJD diagnosis, let alone treatment options for your specific case.