Understanding Your Jaw Pain (And How We Can Help!)
Our experienced Buffalo orthodontists know that pain in the mouth is more than enamel-deep. When a patient presents with pain in their teeth, the jaw, or the throat, our orthodontists think of the bigger picture; they consider and examine the entire head and neck to find the source of the problem. Pain in one part of the head often stems from an unnoticed connection in a seemingly unrelated area.
Jaw pain is one such mysterious complaint. Because of the jaw’s central location in the head, pain can originate in any of the many bones, muscles, nerves, and connective tissues in the craniofacial region, or the area comprising the head and the neck. In our practice, we have found that the most frequent causes of pain in the jaw include the following.
1. You May Have a Sinus Infection
Sinus infections can be mild, with few or no symptoms beyond pressure in the sinuses, or they can be severe and almost unbearable.
Severe sinus infections can do more than cause pressure in the face; they can cause ear pain and dizziness, and some people even experience jaw pain. If you think you may have a sinus infection, it’s important to get it identified and treated as soon as possible before it has a chance to get worse.
2. Neck Muscle Problems Can Radiate Outwards
Our muscles in the craniofacial region are interconnected. If you do not have a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ, you could have a pulled or strained muscle in your neck and shoulder region that is causing you pain in your jaw and ears.
This type of pain can be miserable and if can get worse if left untreated. If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of pain or swelling in your neck or shoulder region, schedule a free consultation at Orthodontists Associates of WNY and let us help identify the root of your pain.
3. You Might Have an Abscessed Tooth
If you have an abscessed tooth, it can eventually cause jaw and ear pain. Signs of an abscess, aside from pain, include a swelling of the face, a buildup of pus under the gum line, a blister resembling a sore on the gum, or even a fever.
A dental abscess requires treatment with antibiotics, or it can become life threatening. This is not something you want to put off. If you are suffering from an abscessed tooth, schedule a free consultation with our dedicated Buffalo orthodontists and let us help relive your pain and return your function.
4. You May Be Grinding Your Teeth Without Even Realizing It
Many people with jaw pain are suffering from bruxism, a condition that involves frequent grinding or clenching of the teeth.
This grinding can occur during waking hours or during sleep, and regardless of the time of day, bruxism often results in pain in the jaw.
The fact that many people are completely unaware they are even doing it is often why it goes untreated for so long.
Of course, the longer it is left untreated, the worse it can progress, so if you or someone you love is concerned about grinding teeth, contact us today and let us help create a custom treatment plan to ensure you aren’t permanently damaging your teeth.
5. Your Jaw Pain Could Result From Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
With Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ, the joints of your jaw do not work in the way that they are designed. Treatment does exist, but the goal is to control or stop the symptoms of the disorder.
Despite the location of the joints involved, TMJ can affect face (and your head) in other locations. TMJ causes chronic facial pain. It is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 40 years old.
According to the American Dental Association, this condition is more common in women than in men.
6. Trigeminal Neuralgia Could Be Causing Your Jaw Pain
Trigeminal neuralgia is the inflammation of the trigeminal nerve. This particular nerve is responsible for the motor functions of your face, such as chewing.
The inflammation can be moderate in nature and only cause mild pain when eating, or it can be so severe that the face begins to ache from exposure to the slightest pressure.
A seemingly minor issue in one location of the head could point to a substantial problem in another, so it is important to receive regular checkups from our orthodontist in Buffalo NY.
If you experience constant and perplexing pain in your jaw, do not hesitate to schedule a free screening with us to uncover and treat the root cause. For further guidance on the matter, download our complete orthodontic care guide created by our doctors.
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