You may not be familiar with the term “orofacial pain,” but you might be well acquainted with the sensation. Orofacial pain is a general term that refers to pain in the mouth, jaw, and face, and it’s one of the most common symptoms people experience around the country. While orofacial pain can have many causes, over 95% of the time, it’s actually due to something dental-related. How does this work? Today, we reveal the most common causes of orofacial pain in Marshall and what you can do about them.
By far, the most common source of orofacial pain is tooth decay. Tooth decay initially attacks the hard outer layer of the teeth, the enamel, but if left untreated, it can actually reach the sensitive soft tissue found inside, called the dental pulp. This is actually where the nerve of the tooth is located, so when it becomes infected due to decay, it can cause a tremendous amount of pain. Over time, this infection/pain can spread beyond the tooth and into the jaw, making it difficult to ascertain as to what is causing the pain in the first place.
Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gum and bone tissue that support the teeth, and it is typically brought on by a lack of consistent oral hygiene. Gum disease is very easy to miss in its initial stages, but eventually it can lead to red, swollen, and painful gums that bleed easily. Over time, it can penetrate deep into the bone and cause it to deteriorate, which is why it is one of the most common causes of tooth loss in the world. Of course, all of this usually leads to orofacial pain as well.
The two hinges located in front of your ears that allow your jaw to move smoothly are called the TMJ, or temporomandibular joint. This, like other joints in the body, can sometimes become injured due to stress, trauma, or a misaligned bite. Issues with the TMJ often cause the muscles in the face to hold a lot of tension, which not only causes a stiff, painful jaw, but frequent headaches and earaches as well.
What You Can Do About Orofacial Pain
If you find yourself feeling any type of orofacial pain, your first call should always be to your dentist. Whether you’re experiencing jaw pain or think you might have gum disease in Marshall, they’ll likely be able to find the root cause of your discomfort and offer you treatments to quickly fix it. Fortunately, all of the problems outlined above can usually be easily addressed with one or two simple procedures, leading to lasting pain relief. Typically, the only regret people have is that they didn’t go to the dentist sooner!
While orofacial pain might be all too common, the solution is usually just a phone call away. If you or a loved one are experiencing any pain in your mouth, jaw, or face, contact your local dentist right away, and you can trust that they’ll have exactly what you need.
About the Author
Dr. Charles Parker is a practicing dentist that has proudly served the east Texas/Louisiana area for over 30 years. Over that time, he has become an expert at addressing all of the causes of orofacial pain, including tooth decay, gum disease, and jaw pain in Marshall. If you or a loved one are experiencing orofacial pain, he is ready to help. To schedule an appointment, contact him today.