Arroyo Grande Oral Surgeon

Jaw Pain TreatmentArroyo Grande, CA

If you have suffered chronic jaw pain, professional treatment may dramatically improve your overall quality of life. Often, home treatments and over-the-counter medications are not enough to manage jaw pain. An oral surgeon may be able to help with long-lasting jaw pain treatment.

Jaw pain treatment is available at Wilson Oral Surgery in Arroyo Grande and the surrounding area. Dealing with chronic jaw pain can be debilitating while also negatively impacting your ability to eat and speak. Fortunately, we may be able to help you manage this pain. Call us today at 805-476-2567 to schedule an appointment.

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Causes of Jaw Pain

According to Medical News Today, temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMD), also known as TMJ, is the root cause for most types of jaw pain. However, several different factors may also contribute, including but not limited to:

  • Dental Conditions. Dental abscesses, a form of severe tooth infection, can cause radiating pain throughout the jaw. Other dental problems, such as cavities or cracked, crowded, tooth sensitivities, and periodontal disease, can cause jaw pain.
  • Facial Trauma. When jawbones are knocked out of place or broken, the patient may experience bruises, swelling, pain, and loose or knocked-out teeth. In most cases, over-the-counter medication, home treatments, and time are enough for jawbone trauma to heal. In some cases, however, jaw pain remains persistent, and the functioning of the mouth is fundamentally changed.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that closes up patients’ airways briefly throughout the night. Those with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to grind or clench their teeth in their sleep, breathe through their mouths, and have TMJ. All of these conditions can contribute to chronic jaw pain.
  • Teeth Grinding and Clenching. Teeth grinding and clenching, also known as bruxism, is generally a stress-driven mechanism. It can happen both when a patient is awake or asleep. Bruxism may lead to headaches; jaw joints clicking or popping; sore gums; jaw pain and stiffness; and sensitive, loose, or broken teeth.

In rare instances, jaw pain can be indicative of a more serious problem, such as jaw cancer. The only way to be sure is to see an oral surgeon. If you are experiencing persistent or worsening pain, make an appointment immediately.

Symptoms of Jaw Pain

Depending on the cause, jaw pain may manifest itself differently. In general, however, symptoms may include a burning sensation in the mouth; a limited range of motion; clicking, popping, or grinding sounds; difficulty chewing or opening the mouth; facial pain that worsens when using the jaw; jaw alignment issues; jaw locking; and joint and muscle tenderness.

Jaw pain is common and usually subsides without treatment. However, patients who have been dealing with chronic, severe, or worsening jaw pain should consult a doctor immediately. Possible complications may arise if jaw pain is left untreated, such as infections and loss of appetite.

Jaw Pain Treatment

Non-invasive treatments are typically the first line of defense against jaw pain. However, these are not always enough to bring about adequate pain relief. In such cases, patients may want to turn to medical treatment. The oral surgeon may then, based off of their findings, suggest root canal therapy, tooth extraction, or jaw surgery.

When the pulp of a tooth becomes irritated, inflamed, or infected, it may require root canal therapy. Deep decay, large fillings, cracks or chips in the tooth, and facial trauma can all cause this. This leads to a severe toothache that radiates throughout the jaw. In root canal therapy, a dentist removes the pulp and any related debris to resolve the problem.

Tooth extractions may be necessary when the mouth is too crowded, the tooth has become infected, or there is a risk of the tooth becoming infected. There are many other reasons that you may need to have a tooth extracted. Most commonly, it is because either trauma or decay has damaged the tooth beyond repair. All of these can cause pain and pressure on the jaw.

In more extreme cases, patients may need to undergo jaw surgery to correct any jaw irregularities that have been causing them pain. Though there are many reasons jaw surgery may be considered for a patient with persistent jaw pain, malocclusion is the most common. When a patient has malocclusion, they have a bite that is misaligned, which can cause undue stress on both the upper and lower jaws.

Learn More Today

Living with chronic jaw pain can be exhausting. It may negatively impact your ability to speak, chew, and hamper your overall quality of life. Our team at Wilson Oral Surgery may be able to help. Call us today at 805-476-2567 to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I prevent jaw pain?

Diet changes are some of the easiest ways to reduce jaw pain. Try to avoid foods that are too chewy, tough, or crunchy. These can place unnecessary strain on your jaw joint, causing pain and discomfort later on. Caffeine can also contribute to muscle tension, though caffeine withdrawal may also cause increased feelings of muscle tension early on. Finally, you may want to try various methods of stress reduction. This can reduce any anxiety-induced jaw clenching.

What should I eat when I have jaw pain?

Soft foods that require little to no chewing are ideal for those with severe and chronic jaw pain. Examples include chicken broth, cottage cheese, fish, lentil soup, and scrambled eggs. Mashed fruits and vegetables are also good choices for their nutrients.

How is jaw pain diagnosed?

Typically, diagnosis takes place after the doctor asks the patient about their symptoms and conducts a physical examination. A blood test or imaging study may also be necessary. If the doctor suspects a specific ailment is causing the pain, then they may also test separately for that condition to confirm.

What causes TMD/TMJ jaw pain?

Several different factors can cause TMD/TMJ. These may come into play separately or all at once. Common causes include a displaced protective disc, arthritis of the protective disc cushioning the jaw joint, excessive stimulation of the jaw joint, injury to the jaw joint, and pain from the muscles controlling jaw movement.

Can I do anything to manage my jaw pain before my doctor’s appointment?

Many patients find they can reduce their discomfort through over-the-counter pain relievers and massaging the affected joint. Some also find moist heat or ice packs helpful. Still, if you are experiencing persistent jaw pain, you should keep in mind that these solutions are only temporary. Our team may be able to help find long-term solutions.

Contact Us

Wilson Oral Surgery is located at
207 Station Way
Arroyo Grande, CA

(805) 476-2567