Dental jaw pain is a common problem that affects many people. In fact, it is so prevalent that at some point, almost 50% of Canadians have reported some symptoms in the jaw, including pain and stiffness. The pain may range from simple discomfort to excruciating pain, making daily living challenging. Other people may experience jaw pain on one side, while others feel it on both.
Jaw pain must be addressed as soon as possible. Some symptoms may be too severe that it affects how you eat, making malnutrition an issue. Pain may also radiate up to the ear and head to cause immense discomfort. Another concern is that jaw pain may indicate other underlying health issues, such as a broken bone or even a heart attack.
Read along to learn more about dental jaw pain, its possible causes and the treatments we offer at Springbank Hill Dental.
Common Causes of Jaw Pain
The temporomandibular joint is the area that connects your upper and lower jaw. It helps you speak, eat, and other general jaw movements. When any structure making up this joint is damaged, you are likely to encounter jaw pain. This may happen if you have arthritis or as a sign of aging.
Aside from issues with your jaw joints, trauma is also a possible cause of jaw pain. A direct hit on the jaw or face may result in a broken or dislocated bone and associated pain.
But aside from direct pain in the jaw, dental-related jaw pain is also possible. Some of the causes include:
- Teeth grinding – teeth grinding or bruxism may result in excessive strain applied on the jaws. If left unmanaged, patients who regularly grind their teeth are prone to experience severe and lasting jaw pain.
- Impacted third molar – an improper bite may arise if the third molar does not properly erupt. Over time, this will affect the jaw joints and cause pain in the area where the impacted tooth is. Also, radiating pain in the jaw and jaw pain due to possible infection are other symptoms associated with an impacted wisdom tooth.
- Severe toothache – tooth pain may sometimes be so severe that the pain is felt in the joints. Infection from the decayed tooth causing the toothache may also result in dental jaw pain.
- Dental abscess – infection from a decayed or damaged tooth may spread to affect the surrounding structures and inflict jaw pain.
Dental Treatments for Jaw Pain
Visit your dentist as soon as you feel any pain or discomfort in your jaw. Remember that early diagnosis and treatment are keys to a better outcome. Once your dentist is able to identify the cause of the pain, they will be able to provide a treatment plan to address the concern and ultimately relieve you of the symptoms.
Depending on the cause of your jaw pain, possible treatment recommendations may include:
A specialist should immediately start TMD management if the concern is due to TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder. They will check the condition of your jaw and assess the best treatment course. Usually, TMD therapy involves using a splint to bring the jaw joints to their most comfortable position. This will relieve pain and help your jaws return to optimal health.
Wisdom tooth surgery
The best treatment for dental jaw pain caused by an impacted wisdom tooth is to surgically remove the tooth. A full mouth X-ray is essential during this procedure. This will serve as a guide so your dentist can identify the position of the third molar, the structures approximating the tooth, and the amount of bone to be removed around it for safe and easy extraction.
Removal of the offending tooth
A decayed tooth causing severe toothache must also be removed to resolve the pain. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to keep any dental infection and pain at bay during the procedure.
If there is an infection due to an abscess or a dislocated bone, jaw surgery is the treatment of choice. Depending on the severity, some parts of the jaw may be removed and replaced to complete the procedure.
Mouthguards are a good remedy for patients suffering from teeth grinding or clenching. Regular use will stop the unconscious habit of bruxism. Eventually, the muscles of the jaw will relax to relieve you of jaw pain.
Home Remedies for Dental Jaw Pain
If you cannot visit the dentist soon, try these home remedies for immediate pain relief. But, the effects are only temporary. For a long-term solution, you should still consult with a professional.
Consider taking over-the-counter pain relievers to help with immediate relief. Good options include paracetamol or ibuprofen, which should be readily available at your local drugstore.
Apply a hot or cold compress
Hot compress helps blood flow better, warming up your muscles and relieving stiffness due to jaw pain. Meanwhile, cold compress helps with pain relief and inflammation. Both should be alternately applied on and off on the affected area every 10 minutes to take effect.
A good muscle massage to relax your stiff jaw joints can also help with pain relief. Rub 5 – 10 circular rotations where the pain is. Then, open your mouth to check if there are some improvements. Repeat the process until any discomfort is solved.
Comprehensive Dental Services at Springbank Hill Dental
At Springbank Hill Dental, we aim to provide top-notch treatments that cater to various dental problems. So, whether you are suffering from a simple toothache or something as complicated as jaw pain due to temporomandibular disorder, we are here to help.
Discover exceptional dentistry at SW Calgary, Alberta, with us at Springbank Hill Dental. Schedule an appointment today to meet our team!