Jaw Pain: When to Seek Professional Dental Care

  • Jan 24 2024

Jaw pain can quickly become a serious issue in your life. Whether you face persistent aching pain or sharp pain when biting or chewing, you may need professional dental care to achieve relief.

However, many patients are hesitant to schedule an appointment unless they’re sure. Here’s what you should watch for to know when to call your dentist.

When to Call Your Dentist About Jaw Pain

There are many cases where you might experience a sore jaw that doesn’t require any kind of urgent care. However, it is generally best to err on the side of caution and reach out to your dentist if you notice any of these signs.

Pain that lasts more than a week should be investigated by a dental professional in most cases. If you have other symptoms, such as a toothache or facial swelling, you could have a serious dental issue.

You should also see your dentist if your jaw pain is interfering with your daily life. Many types of jaw pain can inhibit your ability to bite, chew, or even speak effectively. Don’t suffer silently. Instead, get the care you need to get on with your life.

Factors That May Contribute to Your Jaw Pain

Your jaw pain could arise due to a wide range of factors. One of the most common is temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The TMJ is the joint on either side of the face that allows the lower jaw to move. The joint and the muscles and nerves surrounding it can be affected by stress, impacts, and other problems.

If you experience TMJ disorder, you might write it off as simple jaw pain at first. However, the pain can become worse over time and may even be indicative of underlying problems such as bruxism (grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep). Options like mouthguards can help protect your TMJ and your teeth.

You can feel pain in or around the jaw due to other dental issues, too. An infected or abscessed tooth might feel like jaw pain and can certainly cause pain when biting and chewing. The same is true for gum disease and a variety of additional conditions.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Jaw Pain

Simply living with jaw pain is a bad idea for both your quality of life and your long-term oral health. If your pain is due to TMJ disorder, whatever damage is causing it will likely only get worse. You could find yourself having much more difficulty eating and speaking as the joint continues to degrade.

Issues such as an abscessed tooth and gum disease also continue to worsen when left untreated. You could have the infection spread to other teeth, gum tissue, and throughout the jaw. Avoiding the issue long enough can lead you to suffer from tooth loss.

What You Can Expect From Your Dentist

When you reach out to your dentist about jaw pain, they’ll ask a few questions to determine how urgent your needs are. They might schedule an appointment very soon or even that day.

At your dentist’s office, they’ll evaluate your jaw, teeth, and gums to determine what’s causing the pain. You may require X-rays as well to pinpoint the source. From there, your treatment will depend on the specific dental issue you’re experiencing.

Treatment for TMJ therapy can include using a mouthguard, finding stress relief techniques, and surgery in some cases. An infected tooth will typically require root canal therapy to avoid extraction. Periodontal disease treatment varies depending on how advanced it is, but it could include deep cleaning or periodontal surgery.

Don’t Hesitate to Contact Your Dentist

When it comes to jaw pain, you shouldn’t hesitate to give your dentist a call. You can reach out to Forest Hills Dentistry to let us know more about your symptoms. We’ll determine whether you need urgent care or should schedule a future appointment for dental care in Forest Hills. We offer a full range of dental services to provide the relief you need.

Categories: General Dentistry