Although the gums and teeth receive the majority of notoriety for oral care and dental procedures, the jaws are directly impacted by oral issues. When a problem develops, such as untreated cavities, jaw pain is a common symptom that can range from debilitating aches to moderate discomfort. Don’t resign yourself to living with daily jaw pain — if you experience one of the following five common causes of jaw pain, contact a dentist in Gainesville with Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry. Our staff is up-to-date on the latest dentistry methods and techniques and we always create custom treatment plans to remediate all dental issues. To schedule an appointment, contact our office today.
1. Teeth Grinding
Most patients who are diagnosed with teeth grinding, or bruxism, don’t realize they have developed this harmful habit until they see a Gainesville dentist. This is because teeth grinding generally occurs when you’re asleep. However, tightly clenching the teeth and jaw movement can happen at any time as common causes include an abnormal bite, anxiety, certain diseases, crooked or missing teeth, side effects of medications, and stress.
Prolonged teeth grinding wears down the tooth surface and can chip or fracture individual teeth. A persistent headache, generally accompanied by low pain, and/or a sore jaw are common signs of teeth grinding. A dentist will examine your mouth and teeth to determine the appropriate treatment plan. In many cases, wearing a mouthguard while sleeping is the most effective solution to this condition.
2. Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth happen when there isn’t enough room in the jaw for the teeth to emerge. The teeth may also grow at an angle, causing impaction. If the impacted teeth become infected, you may experience pain and swelling. Wisdom teeth usually erupt, or emerge through the skin, between age 17 and age 25. Surgery is frequently performed to remove impacted wisdom teeth and avoid common issues, such as tooth decay, cavities, and tooth crowding.
3. Gum Disease
Gum disease most often affects patients with poor oral hygiene, but genetics, medications, and certain diseases and illnesses can increase your risk of developing gum disease. Most gum disease symptoms can cause some level of jaw and tooth pain, including the following.This condition can be diagnosed by our dentists in Gainesville, FL, with an oral examination. Gum disease treatment or gum disease often depend on the severity of the issue.
- Loose and/or separating permanent teeth
- Gums separated from the teeth
- Swollen, tender gums which may easily bleed
- Ill-fitting dentures
4. Untreated Cavities
Cavities can develop at any age and without proper oral care, untreated cavities quickly affect your oral and overall health. Cavities and tooth decay are caused when the acid in plaque begins to eat away at the tooth enamel, increasing the risk of tooth decay.
Common symptoms associated with this oral condition include tooth pain and sensitivity, black or white tooth stains, and a small, visible hole in the tooth. There are several treatment options to repair a cavity, including fillings and crowns. If a Gainesville dentistry professional discovers the cavity at an early stage, fluoride treatments may restore the enamel.
5. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD or TMJ)
The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw — mandible — to the skull on either side of your face. It’s responsible for allowing the jaw to open and close for eating and speaking. While the exact cause of TMD is unknown, other health conditions such as arthritis, congenital structural problems, and teeth grinding may affect the development of the condition. Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry can diagnose the condition with imaging tests and a physical examination of the mouth.
Treatment for TMD includes a combination of methods and techniques, including the following.
- Over-the-counter and prescription medications to manage pain and swelling;
- Jaw stretching exercises to improve movement; and
- Avoid eating chewy and/or tough foods.