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Jaw pain can cause discomfort in more places than one. Beyond the jaw, people often complain of headaches, pain in or around their ears and discomfort when they bite and don't realize these symptoms could be taken care of with proper dental care.
With a thorough exam and x-rays, a dentist should be able to isolate the problem causing such discomfort. According to the American Dental Association, sinus problems, infections and arthritis could be the culprits. However, jaw pain is often traced back to teeth grinding, injuries to the mouth, gum disease or problems with the temporomandibular joint, which affects the muscles and joints that control the jaw.
Often, people will delay trips to the dentist when they're experiencing pain in and around their jaw because they don't necessarily link it back to the health of their teeth. They may also lack dental insurance because it's not available to them through their workplace and the cost of an individual plan is prohibitive. But another alternative - discount dental plans - can be purchased that will cover many dentistry services at reduced prices.
Beyond physical pain
Jaw pain may also stem from emotional problems such as anxiety or depression, according to a study done at the University of Greifswald in Germany. When more than 4,000 patients were examined for medical and dental conditions, they were also given a psychiatric questionnaire.
By the end of the study, 122 participants suffered joint pain and 50 individuals complained of muscle pain. The researchers found those with depressive symptoms were more likely to feel joint pain in their jaw while the participants with muscle discomfort were experiencing anxiety.
The study concluded that the joint disorder could be linked to depression or anxiety in two ways. A mental condition can initiate more activity than normal in the jaw muscles or there may be a chemical imbalance that occurs in the brains of those who have depression and anxiety, which can cause them to process the pain sensation in an abnormal way.
Remedies for jaw discomfort
There are a number of remedies that dentists can recommend once they isolate the reason for a person's jaw pain. Some treatments may be dental procedures like a tooth extraction or root canal if the discomfort is caused by a particular tooth. But a dentist may also prescribe that a patient do jaw exercises, take antibiotics for an infection, undergo gum treatment or use a mouth protector to prevent teeth grinding.
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