What is orofacial pain and how can it be treated?

 

photodune-7895769-young-woman-with-bad-tooth-ache-xs-300x200Orofacial pain can be very debilitating. This type of pain can affect a person’s everyday life. It also affects one’s ability to enjoy smooth and comfortable oral function. Orofacial pain can originate from different sources and conditions, and its symptoms include any type of discomfort that involves the oral cavity and face. Treating orofacial pain begins with receiving a thorough examination from a dentist or oral surgeon. This type of discomfort can be treated a few different ways such as by placing restorations to rebuild the occlusion, prescribing therapeutic massage, and oral surgery. Following is some information on conditions that commonly coincide with orofacial pain.

TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder is a common underlying cause of orofacial pain. Having this condition means that the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are strained or impeded from facilitating smooth movement. The TMJs are specialized joints that connect the lower jaw and skull to facilitate mouth movement. When we chew, speak, yawn, smile, or laugh, the TMJs are engaged with muscles and ligaments to move the mouth in its many positions. If the jaws are aligned improperly or if the joint is damaged itself, patients might need oral surgery to correct joint abnormalities and/or reposition the placement of the jawbones.

Malocclusions

An occlusion refers to the way that teeth line up and make contact during oral function. A malocclusion means that a patient’s occlusion or “bite” is improperly aligned. Malocclusions can be caused by worn dentition and orthodontic issues. They are also caused by developmental or congenital problems that affect the placement of the jawbones. When orthodontics or restorative dentistry falls short on correcting a misaligned occlusion, our oral surgeon can realign the jawbones and address abnormal developmental issues through surgical means.

Once underlying causes of orofacial pain such as malocclusions and TMJ disorder are corrected, patients’ discomfort will subside. When it comes to treating debilitating pain, our practice’s goal is to increase oral function and comfort as much as possible so that our patients can enjoy a better quality of life.

For questions about treatment options, call us today to reserve a consultation with one of our doctors.