Brushing, flossing, and routine checkups are necessary for your oral health. However, many people experience pain and discomfort in their jaw even when following recommendations by a dental professional. Stiffness, swelling, and even severe pain of the jaw may be caused by a few conditions that can be treated, but a proper diagnosis is important. Here are a few common causes of jaw pain and how your dentist can help you find relief:
Cavity or Infection
Cavities are more common than most people think. These small decayed areas of the tooth can cause discomfort while decreasing the look of your smile, but if left untreated and unfilled, can lead to infections and severe pain.
Also known as a tooth abscess, an infection in the tooth pulp can cause swelling in the gum tissue and pain that spreads through the entire jaw.
Removing the infected tooth pulp, through a root canal procedure, will be necessary to treat the infection and prevent further pain. If the entire tooth is infected and there is no hope of saving it with a root canal procedure, your dentist will extract the problem tooth.
In some instances, antibiotics will also be prescribed to treat the abscess and prevent the infection from spreading.
Bruxism, or the constant grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw, is another condition that can cause jaw pain. While everyone grinds their teeth from time to time, bruxism is an excessive grinding that damages tooth enamel. This increases the risk of cavities and infections, but the added stress can cause inflammation and pain in the jaw.
Determining why you are grinding your teeth is the first step for stopping your jaw pain. In most cases, the grinding act stems from stress, so finding alternatives for dealing with your emotions will be important for preventing dental damage.
Bruxism is also common in individuals who have bite misalignments. If you have a crossbite, overbite, or underbite, you may unknowingly clench your upper and lower jaw together.
Correcting your bite can prevent you from grinding your teeth further. This correction may involve orthodontic braces or a palatal expander.
Your dentist may also suggest wearing a mouth guard while sleeping. This guard will protect your teeth from the constant clenching and grinding, reducing any dental damage while stopping the pain in your jaw.
Jaw pain may not seem like a serious issue, but the discomfort can affect your daily life. From pain that prevents you from sleeping to stiffness and swelling that prevents you from laughing and chewing, treating jaw pain is important. With this guide, you will learn possible causes and treatments for your jaw pain.
Contact a dental office like Family Dentistry Of Woodstock for more information and assistance.