Millions of people suffer from jaw pain on a regular basis. This pain might be mild and barely noticeable or so severe it affects the person’s quality of life. The pain may be the result of tooth grinding or a symptom of a heart attack. Any person suffering from jaw pain should see a dentist to learn the cause and find a treatment that works.
What Causes Jaw Pain?
In most cases, the pain is the result of temporomandibular joint disorder. Nevertheless, arthritis, periodontal disease, and an infection might also bring about jaw pain. To learn why your jaw hurts, see a dentist. They will provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
What Causes Jaw Pain?
While temporomandibular joint disorder is the most common cause of jaw pain, the pain may be the result of an abscessed tooth. A bacterial infection in the tooth leads to a pocket of pus forming around the tooth and causes the accompanying pain. People who grind their teeth are more at risk of developing jaw pain, and anyone with periodontal disease might find a gum infection is causing their jaw pain.
Arthritis and trauma to the jaw are other causes of pain. A person with the mumps may find their jaw hurts when the salivary glands swell, and an infection can also bring about jaw pain. The dentist will examine the patient to provide an accurate diagnosis.
Treating Jaw Pain
A person must know why they are experiencing jaw pain before they can treat it. They need a dentist to provide this diagnosis because the treatment differs greatly based on the source of the pain. For example, a person who has jaw pain from an abscessed tooth needs dental treatment. A person with a broken jaw will often need surgery to resolve the pain.
Individuals with temporomandibular joint disorder might find they need to apply heat or cold to the jaw to obtain relief. Eating soft foods helps to reduce the pain, and the dentist might recommend over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Anyone who bites their nails, grinds their teeth, or clenches their jaw will need to break that habit, and some people obtain relief by stretching the jaw muscles to relax them.
If these remedies do not work, the dentist might prescribe muscle relaxers. A mouth guard or other orthodontic device often helps those who grind their teeth. In some cases, physical therapy is needed to ease east tight muscles in the jaw and neck.
Seeing the Doctor
If jaw pain does not resolve in a week, seek medical treatment. However, if the pain is severe, the jaw might be broken or dislocated. A doctor needs to evaluate the cause of the pain right away.
When pain starts in the chest and moves up through the shoulders into the jaw, call 911 immediately. The person may be suffering a heart attack. Prompt medical attention is needed to save the individual’s life and minimize the damage from the heart attack.
While joint pain is common, that does not mean a person should live with it. See a dentist to learn about any issues with the teeth and gums that may be contributing to this pain. In certain cases, the dentist will refer the patient to a medical doctor, particularly if they suspect the jaw is broken or dislocated. Quick action is needed in this situation or if the pain is spreading upward from the chest to the jaw. Call for help immediately in these situations.