Emergency and Jaw Pain

jaw pain

Generalized discomfort in the face and jaw pain can make it difficult to function in day to day activities like talking, chewing, or even smiling.  This discomfort can be sudden or gradually get worse over time.  In addition, there can be many different causes, making it important to have someone who is trained help you find the relief you need!

Some Causes of Jaw Pain

Temporal Mandibular Joint Problems or Disorder (TMJ or TMD)

TMD is the most common cause of jaw pain.  This joint hinges the jaw and allows it to open and close. But just like other joints in the body, it can have problems.  Sometimes caused by trauma, symptoms can include:

  • frequent headaches
  • a popping sound when opening or closing your mouth,
  • your jaw locking in the open or closed position

The dentist may advise taking  anti-inflammatories to help with swelling in the joint.  Cold and hot compresses can also provide some relief.  You can also try to reduce stress in your life.  Stress aggravates this condition by causing you to unconsciously clench your jaw or grind your teeth even while sleeping, making a sore jaw even more tender! Ouch!

Osteomyelitis is a bacterium that can travel through the blood affecting bones and surrounding tissue.  Osteomyelitis of the jaw accompanies fever and swelling. A dentist can help by prescribing antibiotics, muscle relaxants or designed a splint for your mouth to allow your joint to heal.

Cavities, Abscesses, and Impacted Wisdom Teeth  

Bacteria feeds off sugars in your mouth can leave behind a substance (plaque) on teeth. Over time it begins to break down the enamel that protects the tooth from damage.  If the damage (decay) passes through the enamel and enters the dentin of the tooth, it can cause a cavity.  Cavities can radiate pain to the jaw, even though the tooth is the culprit.  If left untreated, cavities can turn into root canals or abscesses. Abscesses can also be caused by gum (periodontal) disease. It is important not to ignore these warning signs the body sends to indicate there is a problem!

Other causes of jaw pain involving teeth are impacted molars.  As humans evolved, our jaws got smaller.  There often there isn’t enough room for our 3rd set of molars, or wisdom teeth.  This crowding under the gums can cause jaw pain, discomfort and possibly infection! Our dentists can help.

Other Causes

Sinus infections are another condition that can cause jaw pain when pressure from sinuses press on nerves that run through the jaw.  Pinpointing the cause can be tricky, but whatever the reason, it is important not to ignore jaw pain!  Jaw pain is also a symptom someone who is having a heart attack can experience as the pain radiates from the heart muscle!  It can be very serious! It is important to see a professional who can pinpoint the cause of your discomfort. Our dentists can diagnose the cause of your jaw pain and know what to do to bring relief. Call us today!

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