Jaw Pain: Causes and When to See a Dentist
Understanding the Factors Behind Jaw Pain
If you are experiencing pain in your jaw, it can be a distressing and uncomfortable sensation, sometimes even unbearable. Jaw pain can originate from various sources, and identifying the cause is important in finding appropriate treatment. At Springville Dentistry, we specialize in diagnosing and treating pain in your jaw that can come from various sources, helping you find relief and restore your oral health.
Several factors can contribute when you are experiencing pain in and around your jaw, including:
1. Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common cause of pain in your jaw. This condition involves clenching or grinding the teeth, usually during sleep. The repetitive motion places excessive pressure on the jaw joint and surrounding muscles, leading to pain and discomfort.
2. Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth. When left untreated, it can cause inflammation and damage the gums and jawbone. This inflammation can lead to jaw pain, particularly when chewing or applying pressure to the affected area.
3. Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ)
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorders can occur due to various factors, including misalignment, injury, or excessive strain on the joint. TMJ disorders can result in jaw pain, difficulty opening or closing the mouth, and clicking or popping sounds when moving the jaw.
Infections in the oral cavity, such as tooth abscesses or sinus infections, can radiate pain to the jaw area. These infections can cause swelling, tenderness, and discomfort in the jaw, making it essential to address them promptly.
A toothache can cause referred pain to the jaw. The pain can extend to the surrounding jaw and facial area when a tooth is decayed, cracked, or infected. Toothaches often worsen with biting or chewing and may be accompanied by sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
Accidents or trauma involving the jaw can lead to pain in and around the jaw. Fractures, dislocations, or soft tissue injuries can cause immediate or delayed discomfort in the jaw. If you have experienced an injury to your jaw, it is crucial to seek professional dental care promptly.
Do I see a doctor or a dentist for jaw pain?
Jaw pain can be attributed to various causes, and it may sometimes be challenging to determine whether to see a doctor or a dentist. In general, if your jaw pain is primarily related to dental issues, such as toothaches, teeth grinding, or TMJ disorders, seeking dental care is recommended. However, suppose you suspect your jaw pain is due to a non-dental condition, such as a sinus infection or arthritis. In that case, it is advisable to consult a doctor specializing in those areas.
When should I go to a dentist for jaw pain?
If you are experiencing persistent or severe pain around your jaw area, scheduling an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible is important. Additionally, you should seek dental care if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms along with the pain in your jaw:
- Difficulty or pain when opening or closing your mouth
- Clicking, popping, or locking of the jaw
- Facial swelling or tenderness
- Tooth sensitivity or toothaches
- Changes in your bite
How do you know jaw pain is from a tooth?
If you suspect your jaw pain is related to a tooth, watch for a few signs. These include:
- Pain that originates from a specific tooth or area of the mouth
- Pain that worsens when biting or chewing
- Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Visible signs of tooth decay or damage
If you experience these symptoms, you should see a dentist for a thorough examination. Our experienced team at Springville Dentistry can evaluate your symptoms, perform diagnostic tests if necessary, determine the exact cause of your pain, and make recommendations.
If you suffer from jaw pain, Springville Dentistry is here to help. Our skilled dentists can identify the underlying cause of your discomfort and provide personalized treatment options. Don’t let jaw pain disrupt your daily life—contact us today to schedule an appointment and find relief.
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