If you’ve ever experienced pain in your jaw, you understand how irritating and distracting it can be. The pain can range from mild annoyance to severe and debilitating discomfort. In some cases, the cause of the pain is obvious, while in other times, it requires further investigation. Let’s review the causes and symptoms of tooth pain in the jaw so that you can better understand when to be concerned.
Causes of Tooth Pain in the Jaw
Jaw pain and discomfort can be caused by various factors, ranging from tooth decay to more complex issues such as temporomandibular joint disorder. Common causes of jaw pain include the following:
- Gum disease is caused by bacteria damaging the gums over time; if left untreated, this can lead to an infection that may cause pain and swelling in the jaw.
- Tooth decay can cause discomfort due to small cracks or cavities in the tooth that flare up with biting or chewing food.
- Wisdom teeth can also result in jaw pain if they emerge sideways and become impacted, leading to inflammatory conditions like pericoronitis.
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is another common cause of toothache in the jaw. This disorder can be caused by stress, arthritis or bruxism (grinding and clenching your teeth).
- Sinusitis can result in jaw pain due to the inflammation of sinus tissues surrounding the teeth and jaw.
- Bruxism is a condition where people clench or grind their teeth. This stress on the muscles, joints, and teeth can cause persistent jaw pain.
- Abscess can form in the jaw area due to a bacterial or fungal infection, leading to tenderness, swelling and pain.
- Trigeminal neuralgia is caused by compression or irritation of the trigeminal nerve, resulting in sudden and severe stabbing pains in the jaw.
Symptoms of Jaw Toothache
Severe jaw pain or toothache could indicate a deeper underlying problem. To determine whether or not your severe pain is related to the jaw muscles, it’s important to pay attention to when it occurs, its intensity and how long it lasts.
Most jaw pain will produce a sharp, intense ache that may feel like pressure in the teeth or the cheeks. That is usually accompanied by soreness around the mouth, ears and forehead due to inflammation of the surrounding muscles.
Further investigation by an oral health professional will help determine the cause of this discomfort and can provide recommendations on how best to manage it.
If symptoms persist for over 48 hours, contact your dentist for further advice and treatment.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder and Pain in the Jaw
This disorder affects the joint that connects your lower jaw to the sides of your head and works like a sliding hinge when you talk and chew. Many people experience chronic tension, inflammation, stiffness and tightness caused by TMJ disorder in this joint and its surrounding muscles, resulting in pain that can be felt throughout the entire face, teeth and jaws. To make matters worse, it’s difficult to pinpoint its exact cause – it can range from an injury to stress that’s not managed properly. However, even though it is a difficult condition to understand and diagnose correctly, treating it early is key for minimising pain in the jaw.
Dental Procedures and Jaw Pain
When it comes to dental health, tooth decay and the removal of a wisdom tooth due to crowding are common treatments many of us will undertake throughout our lives. However, one signal that is often overlooked is that these dental procedures can result in pain in the jaw. That can be caused by many issues, such as root canal treatment where bacterial infection is present or even from the pressure of having teeth extracted.
It may also be surprising to learn that some medications used for general pain management could result in jaw pain too. To limit any potential discomfort after guidelines have been followed for specific dental treatments, it’s important to take the time to recognise any signs of jaw pain and further consult with your dentist if necessary.
Eating Habits and Pain in the Jaw
Certain eating habits can cause dental pain and swelling in the jaw. Suppose you suffer from gum disease or tooth decay. In that case, certain foods can cause inflammation of the jaw muscles, increased sensitivity to cold and hot foods, sensitivity to sweets, and difficulty chewing.
Moreover, if you tend to clench or grind your teeth, some hard or crunchy food items like nuts and chips may trigger pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Taking special care of your diet is an important part of targeting sources of dental discomfort, so be sure to speak with your dentist if you’re experiencing any dental pain.
Everyday Practices for Long-Term Relief from Jaw Pain
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
The first step in reducing jaw pain is visiting your dentist regularly. Even if you don’t have any known dental problems, regular checkups can help prevent them from occurring by catching issues early on.
During these visits, your dentist will check for gum disease, tooth decay, and other potential sources of jaw pain.
Make sure to ask any specific questions you might have regarding possible causes of your jaw pain or what treatments they recommend.
Brush and Floss Every Day
Good oral hygiene is essential for preventing dental problems that can lead to jaw pain.
Twice a day, make sure to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once daily for optimal oral health. Additionally, try using an antibacterial mouthwash after brushing to reduce bacteria buildup between teeth and gums, which can cause inflammation and pain over time.
Avoid Grinding Your Teeth
Grinding or clenching your teeth can put unnecessary pressure on the jaw joint, leading to soreness or headaches. To avoid this issue, try sleeping with a mouth guard or splint at night if you often find yourself grinding or clenching while sleeping.
Additionally, practise relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation during the day if you notice yourself grinding throughout the day, as stress can often be one of the major triggers for this behaviour.
Strengthen Your Immune System
A weakened immune system can dramatically raise your susceptibility to infections that lead to jaw pain. To strengthen yours:
- Get plenty of sleep each night (aim for seven to nine hours)
- Consume a nutritious diet with nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and veggies to promote overall well-being.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day.
- Exercise regularly (even light activities like walking count!)
- Take vitamin supplements if necessary.
All these things will work together to boost your immune system to fight off better harmful bacteria that cause infections in the mouth area.
When to Visit the Dentist for Pain in the Jaw?
If you’re experiencing severe jaw pain, chances are it’s time to make an appointment with the dentist. Tooth pain in the jaw can sometimes be a sign of a bacterial infection, which requires medical attention for proper treatment and pain relief. Don’t wait for more symptoms, such as swollen and inflamed gums, a receding gum line or loose teeth – visit your dentist as soon as possible for dental care that could mean the difference between saving a tooth or suffering from chronic pain.
No matter what type of toothache you have experienced—from mild discomfort due to stress-related issues up to severe throbbing from an infected tooth—it’s important to seek help from a qualified professional who can accurately assess and diagnose what’s happening inside your mouth.
Taking action quickly will relieve current discomfort and prevent further damage from occurring down the line, which could cost more money than necessary had action been taken earlier on!
If you’re looking for a reliable emergency dentist in Adelaide, look no further. Our team of highly qualified dentists provide dental solutions for any oral discomfort or pain with superior comfort and care. Book your consultation today! Call us at (08) 7078 8263
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