That’s an impossible question to answer without knowing more specific details — there are too many conditions which can cause jaw pain. To begin with, you need to have an examination and X-rays with a periodontist, to determine whether it is in fact an infection. If it is an infection, the next step is to determine the type and cause of the infection and whether it is chronic or acute. Generally, unless specifically indicated, we don’t start with immediate surgery — we have to first decrease the severity of the infection with antibiotics followed by re-evaluation and possible referrals to other specialists as needed to rule out other possible conditions, which may be the primary source or act as contributory factors to the disease progression, especially in complicated cases. If there is significant improvement, surgery may not be needed; however, if there is insufficient improvement, then surgery may be indicated. Key is not to rush into irreversible and/or over treatment — we need to find the right amount of treatment necessary for you at this given time along with exploring different treatment options since the goal is always to find the least amount of treatment necessary to solve the problem.
John U. Choi, DDS, PhD