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Jaw pain - Causes and treatments

Jaw pain is another of the most common oral problems. In fact, many adults suffer from chronic pain in the jaw and / or face. Some common symptoms include discomfort in or around the ear, jaw tenderness, pain when biting, or headaches. The causes of this problem are diverse as well as its treatment.

1. Causes of jaw or facial pain

The reasons for jaw pain can be very diverse, which can make diagnosis and treatment difficult. Your dentist will perform a thorough examination, which may include X-rays, to determine the cause of the pain. Among the usual ones are:

1A) Sinus problems

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the maxillary sinuses, cavities filled with air that we have on both sides of the face. It can be due to an infection, cold, allergy etc. In sinusitis, the sinus membrane may be thickened, and the cavity filled with mucus. It gives symptoms of pain and pressure in the area of ​​the face that is aggravated by tilting the head down.

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1B) Tooth problems 

Tooth decay, tooth wear, inflammation of the tooth's ligament, a bad occlusion or tooth position and other dental problems can cause pain in the jaw and project to other areas. 

1C) Oral infections

A localized infection, whether of a tooth or gums, can cause pain that extends to the jaw.

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1D) Arthritis of the jaw

Arthritis is a disease caused by the wear of the cartilage that surrounds the bones. This wear can also develop on the membrane that protects and lubricates the temporomandibular joint, causing inflammation and pain.

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1E) Bruxism 

Bruxism can cause pain both in the temporomandibular joints, in the muscles and in the teeth themselves due to excess pressure and / or wear on them.


1F) Periodontal disease

Although periodontal disease is a chronic disease that usually occurs without pain, it can generate acute processes that cause inflammation and pain in the jaw and other parts of the mouth.

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1G) Problems in the temporomandibular joint

Pathologies inherent to the temporomandibular joint, the mandibular condyle or processes derived from habits such as bruxism or a malocclusion can cause pain in this joint.

1H) Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic problem that affects this nerve, which is responsible for transmitting sensations from the face to the brain. This neuralgia can cause episodes of stabbing, sharp pain, or a burning sensation triggered by simply rubbing the face, putting on makeup, shaving, or brushing teeth. These episodes can last several days and usually affect only one side of the face.

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2. How to treat jaw pain

As the causes of jaw pain are diverse, your dentist's treatment plan will depend on the source of your pain, but recommendations may include:

2A) Mouthguard 

The splint or mouthguard  is a device that is placed between the teeth, usually at night, to avoid excessive contact between the upper and lower teeth, and to protect the temporomandibular joint from unwanted movements.

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2B) Muscle relaxants

This type of prescribed medication allows the relaxation of the muscles, and can also relieve jaw pain. 

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2C) Specific exercises for jaw pain

Both physical therapy and specific exercises for the jaw can improve muscle tone and eliminate muscle and joint pain.

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2D) Anti-inflammatories

Anti-inflammatories are drugs prescribed to reduce inflammation in the most acute phases of the processes, thus reducing pain in the jaw or other parts of the body.

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2E) Antibiotics

In cases where there is an active acute infection in the mouth area, the use of antibiotics can help to resolve the problem.

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2F) Endodontics or other treatments for tooth decay

If jaw pain is caused by deep decay or irreversible damage to the pulp of the tooth, conducting root canals or endodontics may be one of the recommended treatments.

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2G) Periodontal treatment

In the event that facial pain derives from a periodontal disease, it will be necessary to carry out the specific treatment indicated for each stage of progression of the disease. It can include periodontal prophylaxis, scaling and root planing and periodontal surgery.

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2H) Tooth extraction

In cases where there is a badly destroyed tooth or a severe oral infection, it may be necessary to extract the tooth.

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2I) Orthodontics

When there is a malocclusion, that is, an incorrect position of the teeth that causes them not to contact correctly when biting, it can generate problems and pain both at the mandibular level and at the temporomandibular joint. In this case, orthodontic treatment would be indicated to correct the problem.

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3. Treatment of jaw pain in A Coruña

If you live in A Coruña and are suffering from jaw pain or some other oral problem, the Pardiñas Dental Medical Clinic team will be happy to assist you.

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