Last updated: Mar 31, 2021
What Is Jaw Pain and How It Can Be Treated?
When your jaw hurts, you can’t eat properly because the jaw pain hampers the way you chew. The pain also makes speaking uncomfortable. Don’t let it continue, not when there’s a dentist nearby in Stamford, CT who can help.
You may not think of your dentist for jaw pain, but the dentists at Stamford dental office are experienced in treating that pain, whether it’s on your left side, your right side, or both sides. Call today for an evaluation.
Your jaw joint, also known as the temporomandibular joint or TMJ, is a complex joint made of tendons, muscles, and bone. Located below your ears on either side of your face, this joint receives more than its share of stress and strain, any of which may result in a dull ache or severe jaw pain. Trauma is an obvious cause of jaw pain, but you can hurt your jaw in any number of other ways.
Unless you’ve experienced a severe injury, jaw pain usually isn’t life-threatening. But it can impact your quality of life and interfere with your day-to-day activities. An experienced dentist like those near you at Stamford Dental Arts uncovers the source of your jaw pain so it can be treated, helping you regain the ability to eat and talk without discomfort.
Symptoms of Jaw Pain
In general, any pain in your face, mouth, or jaw demands a visit to your family dentist. This is the dentist who knows you, your mouth, and your habits, so it’s the place to go for any kind of pain. Pain in your jaw often appears in specific ways and places. The symptoms you notice may offer a clue about the cause. Common symptoms include:
- Jaw pain on the right side of your face
- Jaw pain on the left side of your face
- Jaw pain on both sides of your face
- A dull ache noticeable when you eat, talk or even just open your mouth
- Achiness in front of your ear or in your cheek
- Pain that radiates down near the roots of your teeth, mimicking a toothache
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Causes of Jaw Pain
Jaw pain comes from several different sources. Some are easily treated, while others require more extensive intervention. From minor causes to major concerns, the team of dentist Ali Modiri, DDS, and Marjan Moghadam, DDS have the diagnostic experience and tools to determine the cause of your pain, which may be from:
- Stress and anxiety. You may be clenching your jaws or gritting your teeth during stressful situations, even if you aren’t aware of it. You may be tightening these muscles unconsciously. You may even clench your teeth in your sleep. Over time, this continuous tension causes achiness, soreness, and unusual tooth wear. Finding stress relief through meditation, yoga, exercise, anxiety medication, or mouthguards are worn at night helps relieve discomfort.
- Gum chewing. A daily habit of chewing gum, especially for extended lengths of time, puts strain on the tendons and muscles in your jaw. The strain creates inflammation and pain. Because you may habitually chew gum more on one side of your mouth, this can cause uneven tooth wear and an imbalance in your jaw muscles. Ceasing or reducing gum chewing helps relieve your symptoms.
- Arthritis. Often associated with TMJ pain, arthritis usually affects the muscles right at the hinge of your jaw. Medications, Omega 3, and glucosamine help decrease discomfort. Avoid inflammation-inducing foods such as white sugar, flour, alcohol, and red meat.
- TMJ dysfunction. When your temporomandibular joint doesn’t function properly, you may have TMJ dysfunction. You can get TMJ treatment from your nearby dentist.
- Dental conditions. These conditions range from an infected tooth to improperly-fitting dental appliances to gum disease. Your Stamford dentist treats the underlying condition to help relieve your discomfort.
- Trauma or infection. More serious conditions — such as trauma, osteomyelitis (an infection entering the bloodstream), or a heart attack may show symptoms that resemble jaw pain. Seek immediate medical help if you notice other signs of infection, such as a fever or swelling, or if you experience shortness of breath or intense chest pain.
Jaw Pain Treatment
Your treatment depends on the underlying cause of the pain in your jaw. Your Stamford dentist begins with conservative treatments first, which may include medications such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants or tricyclic antidepressants.
Another non-drug therapy includes counseling to help with stress and anxiety. Our top-rated dentist also may suggest physical therapy to stretch, strengthen and soothe your strained muscles. You may use moist heat or ice several times a day to reduce inflammation and decrease pain. If you’ve experienced trauma, infection, or more extensive oral damage, your Stamford dentist may suggest procedures such as injections of Botox or corticosteroids for pain relief. As a last resort, there are oral surgical procedures, such as:
- Arthrocentesis, which requires the use of small needles to inject fluid around the jaw joint, washing away irritants or debris
- A modified condyloma to treat locking jaw and pain issues
- Arthroscopic surgery, in which your dentist uses a thin tube to enter the joint area and repair damage or remove irritants.
- Open-joint surgery, but only for severe cases of jaw pain when other treatments have proven ineffective
Jaw pain doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying the foods you like or talking to the people you love. Effective treatments help relieve symptoms and allow you to resume your daily life. Contact Stamford Dental Arts today to discover the best jaw pain treatment option for you.
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DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
The information on this website is to provide a general dentistry information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect a definitive treatment advice. It is important to consult your dentist regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough dental evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your local dental practice, to schedule a consultation.