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Ouch! Your Dentist Explains Orofacial Pain

January 24, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — circlepines @ 2:49 pm

man with orofacial painHave you ever heard the phrase “hurts so good”? Some types of pain, like the burning in your muscles after a fantastic workout, come with happy feelings and personal satisfaction. Most pain, however, is just a nuisance that you’re ready to get rid of as soon as possible, including the unpleasant sensation of orofacial pain. What exactly is orofacial pain, and what can you do about it? Your dentist is here to chat about this important topic.

Understanding Orofacial Pain

Orofacial pain is a general term that applies to any mouth, face, or jaw pain. At first thought, it might seem like any other ache that you feel throughout your body, but the science behind it is a bit different.

Researchers at a school of dentistry in Oregon have taken a close look at orofacial pain and its causes. One particularly fascinating discovery of theirs relates to a specific protein that signals the brain when you’re in pain. There is a significant increase of this protein when parts of the mouth or face become inflamed, and it sends information about the inflammation to your brain. Your brain, in turn, catches up by causing the discomfort that is known as orofacial pain.

The researchers’ work may lead to new and exciting approaches for addressing orofacial pain. It may equip doctors to prescribe therapies that will quickly relieve patients’ agony and get them back to having a pain-free face and mouth as soon as possible.

Causes of Orofacial Pain

The potential causes of orofacial pain are many. According to one estimate, however, over 95 percent of cases are somehow related to oral health problems. Some specific conditions that may cause such pain include:

  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders: Problems with the joint that connects your lower jaw to the rest of your skull.
  • An abscessed tooth: A type of infection. If left untreated, it can spread and cause serious damage.
  • Pulpitis: Inflammation of the pulp inside a tooth.
  • Gum disease: Inflammation of the gums that can lead to major complications.
  • Oral cancer
  • Cracked or broken teeth
  • Jaw injuries

How Can You Get Relief?

At the moment, scientists may not be able to stop your proteins from sending orofacial pain signals to your brain. However, there are things you can do to find relief from discomfort around your jaw, mouth, and face. Begin by visiting your dentist, who will examine your mouth and try to pinpoint the cause of your pain.

Your treatment will depend on why you’re hurting. Dentists use a variety of approaches to address TMJ disorder, infections, gum disease, and more. Before, during, or after your treatment, your dentist might suggest that you take mild painkillers to manage your discomfort until the condition behind it heals.

Orofacial pain hurts so bad! Fortunately, your dentist is always willing to help you so bye-bye to the ouch and hello to a healthy smile.

About Circle Pines Dental

Drs. John Stentz and Priya Shaffer are pleased to provide dental services to folks in the Circle Pines area. If you’re experiencing orofacial pain, they would be happy to take a look at your mouth and help you find relief. Please contact our office at 763-768-3432.

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