Why You Don't Want to Ignore Persistent Jaw Pain

Do you wake up each morning with a sore jaw? Has your jaw caused you pain for weeks or even months? You’re not alone. Between one-third and 40% of Americans struggle with chronic orofacial pain — including chronic jaw pain. 

At Legacy Dental Care in Ballwin, Missouri, experienced dentist Amanda Darling, DDS, knows the frustration of pain that just won’t quit — especially when that pain affects your mouth and head. 

As part of our comprehensive dental services, the team at Legacy Dental Care helps patients dealing with persistent jaw pain. We also know patient education can go a long way in addressing our patients’ concerns so you can get the help you need.  

Why shouldn’t I ignore persistent jaw pain?

If you’re experiencing persistent jaw pain, it’s important to discuss your symptoms with Dr. Darling at Legacy Dental Care as soon as possible. Jaw pain isn’t normal and indicates there’s an underlying problem. 

Ignoring it can make jaw pain worse. Depending on its cause, you may notice your ability to do many common things, such as speak, swallow, chew, control facial muscles, and even breathe, worsens the longer you ignore it. 

The root cause of jaw pain is frequently related to issues with your teeth or causes damage to your teeth. Speaking to your dentist, who has experience and expertise resolving dental and structural issues, can help prevent any issues from worsening and ease your pain. 

What is causing my persistent jaw pain?

There are many potential reasons your jaw hurts, including a crooked bite, jaw arthritis, or a head injury. Most of the time, however, jaw pain stems from two common disorders: Bruxism (teeth grinding) and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). 

Teeth grinding (Bruxism)

Bruxism, more commonly known as teeth grinding, is a condition in which you grind, clench, or gnash your teeth. You may not realize you’re doing it because it so often occurs during sleep. So unless the person who shares a room with you tells you you’re grinding your teeth, it's difficult to self-diagnose.  

Teeth grinding is very common, with about 1 in 3 Americans struggling with the condition.  Indicators of teeth grinding include chronic upper or lower jaw pain, headaches, and earaches. Teeth grinding can also cause a tight or sore face. Untreated teeth grinding can have long-term effects, including: 

It’s important to speak to a dentist if you suspect you grind your teeth to avoid added complications and irreversible long-term effects. 

TMJ (Temporomandibular joint disorder)

If you have significant pain or discomfort in your jaw, TMJ disorder may be the root cause. The condition affects the muscles and tendons surrounding your jaw in addition to the joint itself.

People develop TMJ for many reasons, including jaw dislocation, injury, arthritis, tooth and jaw misalignment, and teeth grinding, and symptoms may vary between people. There are some signs and symptoms we at Legacy Dental Care see more frequently. These include:  

Other symptoms include grinding or clenching your teeth, having tension or muscle spasms in your jaw, neck and shoulder tension, or experiencing a crunching sound or feeling in the affected joint of the jaw.  

How is persistent jaw pain treated?

To remedy your jaw pain, Dr. Darling needs to address the underlying condition that’s causing your pain. Once she understands what’s causing your persistent jaw pain, our team at Legacy Dental Care creates a customized treatment plan for you. 

Dr. Darling begins with conservative treatments to help you avoid more invasive procedures if possible. For most of our patients, conservative treatments work well to help end persistent jaw pain. Some treatments we may recommend may include:

Dr. Darling also educates you about behavior that can increase your jaw pain, such as biting your nails. If you have TMJ and she finds an underlying structural problem is to blame, she may recommend surgical interventions to resolve your condition. 

If you’re ready to put an end to persistent jaw pain, contact Dr. Darling at Legacy Dental Care in Ballwin, Missouri. Call 636-203-7519 to schedule an appointment now! 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Remarkable Benefits of Whiter Teeth

Do your less-than-pearly-white teeth have you hiding your smile? Many options exist to whiten your smile, but not all approaches are equal. Learn about the many benefits of whiter teeth and the best whitening options for a brighter smile!

The Dental Implant Process: What to Expect

Dental implants are a lasting solution for many tooth troubles. If you’re considering getting dental implants, here’s a look at what you can expect from your initial evaluation through the final prosthetic placement!

4 Benefits of a Smile Makeover

Your smile is one of the first things people see. If your smile isn’t sending the message you want, a smile makeover can help. How could you benefit from the makeover options that are available?

What People Love Most About Veneers

Do you have dental flaws? If you’re considering making more than one cosmetic improvement to your smile, veneers may be the treatment strategy for you. Learn more about dental veneers and why people love them!

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Considering dental implants and wondering how long before you’ll have to get replacements — or if you’ll need replacements at all? Keep reading to get your questions about the lifespan of dental implants answered.