Jaw Pain VS Tooth Pain Make Dental Care a Priority

Dealing with jaw and tooth pain is never pleasant. Even if the pain is minor, it can quickly become disruptive and turn into a major medical issue. Understanding jaw pain vs tooth pain can help you to determine what type of care or treatment plan you require promptly. Whenever you are dealing with sharp, stabbing, throbbing, or subtle pains, knowing the difference between jaw pain vs tooth pain is imperative.

What is Jaw Pain?

When it comes to jaw pain vs tooth pain, it’s important to first understand the basics of jaw pain. Typically, jaw pain is commonly caused by the jaw joint, also known as the temporomandibular joint. When individuals struggle with pain that is directly correlated with their jaw joint, they may be diagnosed with TMJ disorder, or Temporomandibular Joint disorder.

TMJ Signs and Symptoms

Understanding some of the most common signs and symptoms that are associated with TMJ disorders is crucial for anyone experiencing discomfort in the jaw. Notable signs that are linked to TMJ disorders include:

  • Increased tenderness in the jaw and surrounding the jaw bone
  • Significant limitations with jaw movement
  • Noises coming from the jaw when moving (including clicking or popping sounds)
  • Increased stiffness in the jaw bone and joint
  • Jaw lock (making it increasingly difficult to open the mouth and/or chew food)
  • Sudden ear pain that seemingly comes out of nowhere
  • Unexplained headaches that coincide with the jaw pain you experience

If you believe you may have a TMJ disorder, it’s best to track and monitor your symptoms on a daily basis. Turn to a professional for the TMJ treatment plan that is right for you.

TMJ Treatments

If you believe you have TMJ and are searching for the TMJ treatment plan that is right for you, you will first need a medical diagnosis. Medical diagnosis is typically possible with the use of traditional CT scans and MRIs. When it comes to treatments for TMJ, these will vary based on your exact disorder, the shape of your jar, and the severity of your condition. In some cases, physical therapy is all that is required in order to help find relief. In other instances, the following medication types may help with TMJ disorders:

  • Anti-inflammatories: Anti-inflammatory medications can help minimize pain and treat inflammation throughout the jaw.
  • Muscle relaxants: Muscle relaxants can provide relief from jaw stiffness.
  • Antidepressants: In some patients, tricyclic antidepressants can help aid in the mental and emotional toll that TMJ may cause.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy is the most common go-to treatment for those diagnosed with TMJ disorder. Exercise, ice, ultrasound therapy, and heat can all help alleviate pain and stiffness with TMJ disorders.
  • Surgery: For those with severe TMJ struggles, surgery may be the best solution. Surgery options typically involve arthrocentesis, TMJ arthroscopy, and modified condylotomy procedures.

What is Tooth Pain?

When it comes to distinguishing jaw pain vs tooth pain, it can be tricky. This is especially true if the pain you’re experiencing has not come on suddenly or is dull and achy at times. However, most of the time, tooth pain is difficult to ignore, especially as it worsens.

Tooth Pain and Toothache Causes

Not all toothaches have the same root cause. Understanding what can cause a toothache, an infection or any amount of pain in the mouth can help point you in the right direction when seeking medical care. Common causes of toothaches and tooth pain include:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Grinding of the teeth (while awake or even while asleep)
  • Infections of teeth that have been neglected for an extended period of time
  • Pulp inflammation (often referred to as pulpits)
  • Nerve irritation or irritation surrounding a particular tooth in the mouth
  • An increase in dental cavities due to a lack of cleaning or regular maintenance

Tooth Pain Signs and Symptoms

Tooth pain signs and symptoms are a bit different than when dealing with jaw pain. However, a serious tooth infection can and will spread to the jaw and to other areas of the body, which is why it is imperative to address tooth pain as quickly as possible with a proper medical professional. Some of the most common signs of a toothache that requires attention from a dentist include:

  • Throbbing pain
  • Swelling of the gums or teeth
  • Swollen glands and fever (for serious cases and for tooth infections that have spread)
  • Discharge or bleeding from the gums or affected teeth
  • Increased unexplainable headaches that seem connected with your tooth pain

Tooth Pain Treatments

When it comes to jaw pain vs tooth pain, knowing the difference can help ensure you get the proper medical care or treatment. Tooth pain treatments will depend on the cause of your pain as well as the extent of any damage or swelling that has been done in the mouth.

Most often, antibiotics are prescribed to patients who are dealing with a tooth infection, regardless of the severity. If a dentist discovers a cavity or a root canal issue in the mouth, the solution is filling for cavities and root canal therapy for missing or cracked teeth. In some instances, it may be best to have a tooth completely pulled from the mouth, eliminating any and all nerve pain associated with the tooth altogether.

Differences Between Jaw and Tooth Pain

Understanding the differences between jaw pain vs tooth pain is essential whether you are dealing with the pain yourself or know someone who has mouth and tooth pain. With jaw pain, most often, teeth are not involved and the pain may be directly linked to the jaw bone and joint itself. Additionally, jaw pain is commonly associated with the actual TMJ joint, rather than underlying issues such as potential cavities, root canals, or gum diseases.

Tooth pain, on the other hand, is often extremely noticeable, even when the pain is dull and not yet throbbing. Tooth pain will make it increasingly difficult to chew, maneuver the mouth, and in extreme instances, even talk and communicate.

The Importance of Regular Family Dental Care

When it comes to dealing with jaw pain vs tooth pain, the importance of regular family dental care cannot be underestimated. Visiting a family dentist office at least twice a year, or once every six months, is recommended for both children and adults. Even if you have healthy teeth, having them cleaned and x-rayed can help you to stay on top of your dental health before bigger issues present themselves.

Not only can your traditional family dentist provide you with cleanings, root canal procedures, and cavity fillings, but they can also assist in migraine relief when you are struggling with either jaw or tooth pain. Dentists are trained to determine the root cause of tooth and jaw pain. They can provide you with insight into your dental, gum, and jaw health, even if the pain you are experiencing is mild and/or dull at the time of your visit.

Types of Dental Care

Visiting a dentist is important for regular checkups and cleanings. When you schedule a traditional cleaning and checkup, you can also schedule X-rays. These will provide your dentist with more insight into the overall bone structure of your teeth and the jaw itself. Most dentists that own and operate family practices are not only well-versed in handling cleanings but can also provide cavity fillings as well as root canal treatment for those in need.

If you are in need of same day crowns or if you’re seeking cosmetic dentistry such as a dental implant procedure, you may need to research local dentists in your area to find the appropriate provider. Not all family dentists will provide cosmetic dental solutions. Additionally, cosmetic dental solutions may or may not be covered by your current insurance, depending on your plan and insurance provider.

When to Contact a Dentist

Knowing when it is best to contact a dentist can ultimately help alleviate pain and prevent potential infections from worsening. Whether you’re in need of acute pain relief services or if you want to schedule a regular dental office appointment, knowing when it’s time to visit a medical professional is essential for optimal oral health.

You Are Experiencing Throbbing Pains

One of the tell-tale signs that it is time to seek help from a medical professional is if you begin experiencing intense throbbing tooth pains. Throbbing pain near or around your teeth is often an indicator of a potential infection. When left untreated, infections in the mouth have the ability to spread to the jaw, heart, brain, and other areas of the body.

If you experience pain each time you open your mouth, talk, or chew, it’s best to turn to a professional. Dentists can provide immediate treatments to ensure relief while minimizing the risk of developing a bigger infection.

Increasing Inflammation

If you notice increasing inflammation around your gums, teeth, or even surrounding your jaw, it’s best to turn to a dental professional. A dentist will know whether or not the inflammation you are experiencing is due to a root canal issue, a gum disease, or even a potential jaw disorder, such as TMJ.

Tooth Decay

Noticeable tooth decay is another major reason to seek medical assistance from your local family dentist. When your teeth begin to decay, even with regular cleanings and brushing, you may have an underlying issue that requires addressing. This can range from traditional gum diseases to deeply-rooted tooth infections that have spread throughout the mouth. Only with a thorough cleaning and X-rays will you have the ability to determine the extent of the tooth decay that you are experiencing.

Bleeding Gums and Teeth

If you notice that there is significant bleeding in your mouth each time you brush or floss your teeth, it’s best to consult with a family dentist. Bleeding can be an indication of a much more serious issue, such as periodontal disease or another gum-0related disease. If you’re unsure of why you are experiencing bleeding after you brush, floss, or even eat, turn to your dentist for advice and medical guidance.

Finding Affordable and Quality Dental Care

When determining if you are dealing with jaw pain vs tooth pain, it’s important to find not only high-quality dental care, but care that is affordable. Whether you require affordable braces or you’re interested in a checkup regarding your tooth or jaw pain, finding the right dentist is key.

Research Your Insurance Provider

If you’re new to using your dental insurance, it’s best to take time to research your current plan and the amount of coverage you qualify for as an individual policyholder. Not all dental insurance plans are the same, as some will cover emergencies and cosmetic procedures, while others may only cover necessary X-rays and cleanings. When you are researching your insurance provider, you can also determine which dentists in your area currently accept your insurance.

Compare Local Dentists

Once you are familiar with your dental insurance plan and understand the coverage you qualify for, you can begin searching for a local dentist that is right for you. Search for local dentists online, or ask those you know for recommendations and referrals. This can help expedite the search process while allowing you to make an appointment with a dentist you can trust and rely on.

Use both local and online directories to compare the dentists and dental offices near you. Search for reviews and verified testimonials from patients when researching online. Use testimonials to choose a dentist based on the services provided, the quality of care that is given, and the type of insurance that is accepted.

Anytime you are struggling with jaw pain vs tooth pain, finding the right dentist can make all of the difference. When you’re familiar with the resources available to you both locally and online, you can find a dental practice that is right for you and the exact issue you are experiencing.

Whenever you are dealing with pain in the mouth, learning about jaw pain vs tooth pain is highly recommended. Once you understand the differences between jaw pain vs tooth pain, it will be much easier to determine the best course of action and treatment for your issue. With the right family dentist or professional, determine the root cause of your pain and receive treatment as quickly as possible to alleviate it altogether.

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