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TMD and Orofacial Pain

Orofacial pain is pain in the head region, face, neck, mouth or jaw. Whatever the location, the explanation for this discomfort can be something simple, like a  caries , or the cause may be more difficult to identify. Home treatments, medications, and dental or surgical interventions can help, depending on the cause of the pain.


What are the causes of this pain?

According to the University of Florida Health (UF Health), dental problems are responsible for more than 95% of cases of orofacial pain. The second most common cause is temporomandibular disorders (TMD), followed by a long list of other problems in the orofacial region. Dental problems that may be behind this dull or stabbing pain include decay, tooth abscesses, periodontal disease, inflammation of the tooth pulp, and  dentin hypersensitivity . TMD is a general term covering a variety of temporomandibular joint disorders. UF Health also lists vascular inflammation, damage or disease of the somatosensory system, and traumatic or surgical injury to the peripheral nerve as other possible causes.


dental problems

The type of pain you feel in a tooth or area close to a tooth helps the dentist diagnose what is causing the problem. As the American Association of Endodontists explains, sensitivity to very hot or cold food or drinks usually indicates receding gums or a small cavity, but if you feel sharp pain when biting, your tooth may be cracked or have a deep cavity or filling. may be loose. According to the UK's National Health Service, severe toothache that radiates to the ear, jaw and neck is a sign of a tooth abscess. If you suspect a tooth abscess, some medications help relieve pain, but you should see a dentist as soon as possible.


Temporomandibular disorder (TMD)


THE  ear-jaw articulation  it is a complex structure. Sometimes the muscles and joint structure develop disorders that cause discomfort and pain. The Journal of Pain Research mentions recurrent or persistent pain in the ear, head, jaw, tooth or face and a feeling of pressure or fullness in the joint region as the main symptoms of TMD. Dentists diagnose this dysfunction after an examination of the head and neck, examination of the oral cavity, careful assessment of the muscles, and checking the range of motion of the jaw.


Treatments by health professionals  

If the cause of your orofacial pain is a dental problem, dental treatment can put an end to the discomfort. Fillings, root canals, crowns, fluoride treatments and tooth extractions as possible ways to relieve pain caused by decay and cavitations.

In the case of TMD, the dentist must evaluate the causes and indicate the best treatment.

The physical therapist can teach the patient exercises to perform at home, associated with a cooling or heating spray or electrical stimulation of the affected nerve.

Medications that help control TMD include painkillers, muscle relaxants, local anesthetic injections, corticosteroids, and even antidepressants.

A mouthpiece such as occlusal splints or, in extreme cases, surgery are also used to relieve TMD symptoms.

While orofacial pain is a symptom with many possible causes, don't let that stop you from seeing a doctor.

Once you receive a diagnosis, you can start taking steps to reduce your discomfort at home or with dental, physical, or medical treatment.

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