Have you ever woken up with a locked jaw that is difficult to move, or experience jaw pain that seems to be deep and getting worse? Jaw pain is often described as a throbbing, uncomfortable pain. Sometimes it seems to happen suddenly, or it might start off mild and get more intense over time.
The exact symptoms vary depending on the cause, but identifying the underlying issue is the first step in treating this condition. Some causes to be on the lookout for include:
Teeth grinding. A common problem, and one that many don’t realize they have because it often happens during sleep, tightly clenching and moving your jaw is considered teeth grinding. This can be caused by stress or anxiety, specific diseases and side effects from medication. But, grinding can also occur while awake when someone is concentrating.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJD). If you notice that your jaw pain is associated with restricted jaw movement, it could be a temporomandibular joint disorder. Some other symptoms include tenderness in the jaw joint, face, ear and even the neck and shoulders as well as a “clicking” sound upon opening or moving the jaw. The exact cause of a TMJ disorder can be difficult to determine. Pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury.
Impacted wisdom teeth. Typically, wisdom teeth erupt between the ages of 17 and 25 and can cause trouble in your jaw, especially if they become impacted, or infected and cause acute swelling and pain. Impacted wisdom teeth do not fully erupt because of a blockage from other teeth and pain can develop with the onset of inflammation or infection or damage to the adjacent teeth.
Untreated cavities. Developing a cavity in one tooth doesn’t mean the pain is restricted to that specific area. When leaving a cavity untreated for a long time, infection can develop and spread, causing pain in the jaw and other teeth.
Gum disease. Gum disease is often caused by poor oral health and as it progresses, it can lead to problems with the tissues and bones that support the teeth. Gums that ache or bleed may be the result of gum disease that is getting worse.
If you or someone you know has been experiencing jaw pain that isn’t subsiding, we recommend scheduling a visit with one of American Dental Group’s preferred providers. Putting an end to jaw pain requires an evaluation and a treatment plan from a reliable, trusted dental professional.
Members of American Dental Group not only get advice and treatment from the best independent, home town dentists up and down the Front Range, but receive discounted services on all treatments.
Dental implants are quickly becoming a familiar alternative to dentures. Implants are an appliance that is attached to your jaw, under the gum line. Eventually it fuses to your jaw and a dental professional attaches a metal post that performs like a “root” for an artificial tooth, or a bridge of artificial teeth.
More and more people are choosing implants over regular dentures for both cosmetic and functionality reasons. Preferring the look of implants, people also appreciate being getting through life without worrying about inserting, removing, and cleaning their dentures.
Implants also allow patients to enjoy a wider range of foods. Dentures can make it difficult to eat foods that are hard or sticky, but because implants behave like natural teeth, eating is comfortable and enjoyable. Additionally, regular brushing and flossing is all that is needed to are for implants. Dentures can require special cleaning and care.
Dentures can tend to slip around inside your mouth, which is not just uncomfortable, but can be inconvenient, and can also impact speech over time. As the jaw bone and gums decrease in size over time, dentures that fit before begin to move around more frequently. This can also cause the formation of sores and irritation.
Dental implants are usually made of titanium, and have been for decades with good results. The post (or abutment) holding the new tooth in place is typically made out of titanium as well. However, some dentists use ceramic abutments.
The new tooth, or crown, can be made from several different materials. Crowns at the front of the mouth are often made from ceramic or porcelain because they are the most natural looking and can be tinted to match the rest of your teeth. Sometimes a dentist may recommend using metal crowns for back molars that aren’t easily seen. Metals are typically tougher than ceramics or porcelain and may be a good choice for those who are at risk of damaging their implants.
Getting dental implants is a multi-step process that can take months. Once you and your American Dental Group professional have established that you are a candidate for implants, you will be scheduled for having an implant inserted. This may also involve an extraction of the damaged tooth that will be replaced.
Once the implant is in place, your jaw and surrounding tissues need time to heal which can take from six to 12 weeks. Your dentist, oral surgeon, or periodontitis will make sure the site has healed properly in order to attach the new tooth.
The implant procedure is generally done under local anesthetic and you may need an over-the-counter painkiller to help with any discomfort after the procedure. Your dental professional will make sure you have instructions for at-home aftercare, including when you should seek advice due to bleeding, uncontrolled pain, or signs of infection.
Choosing dental implants instead of dentures means opting for comfort and convenience. With good care and regular checkups, implants can last for the rest of your life, and the crowns can last anywhere from 10-15 years. To get started, talk to an American Dental Group professional and find out if you’re a good candidate for implants.