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Posts for tag: jaw pain


Chronic jaw pain can be an unnerving experience that drains the joy out of life. And because of the difficulty in controlling it patients desperate for relief may tread into less-tested treatment waters.

Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are a group of conditions affecting the joints connecting the lower jaw to the skull and their associated muscles and tendons. The exact causes are difficult to pinpoint, but stress, hormones or teeth grinding habits all seem to be critical factors for TMD.

The most common way to treat TMD is with therapies used for other joint-related problems, like exercise, thermal (hot and cold) applications, physical therapy or medication. Patients can also make diet changes to ease jaw function or, if appropriate, wear a night guard to reduce teeth grinding.

These conservative, non-invasive therapies seem to provide the widest relief for the most people. But this approach may have limited success with some patients, causing them to consider a more radical treatment path like jaw surgery. Unfortunately, surgical results haven't been as impressive as the traditional approach.

In recent years, another treatment candidate has emerged outside of traditional physical therapy, but also not as invasive as surgery: Botox injections. Botox is a drug containing botulinum toxin type A, which can cause muscle paralysis. Mostly used in tiny doses to cosmetically soften wrinkles, Botox injections have been proposed to paralyze certain jaw muscles to ease TMD symptoms.

Although this sounds like a plausible approach, Botox injections have some issues that should give prospective patients pause. First, Botox can only relieve symptoms temporarily, requiring repeated injections with increasingly stronger doses. Injection sites can become painful, bruised or swollen, and patients can suffer headaches. At worst, muscles that are repeatedly paralyzed may atrophy, causing among other things facial deformity.

The most troubling issue, though, is a lack of strong evidence (outside of a few anecdotal accounts) that Botox injections can effectively relieve TMD symptoms. As such, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve its use for TMD treatment.

The treatment route most promising for managing TMD remains traditional physical and drug therapies, coupled with diet and lifestyle changes. It can be a long process of trial and error, but your chances for true jaw pain relief are most likely down this well-attested road.

If you would like more information on treating jaw disorders, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Botox Treatment for TMJ Pain.”

By Stiles Family Dentistry
April 08, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain  

Jaw pain can be debilitating, making it difficult for you to eat and talk. Several things can cause jaw pain which is why you need to discuss your symptoms with a medical specialist. At Stiles Family Dentistry, located in Salem, NH, Dr. Nicholas Papapetros, Dr. Jhon Giraldo, Dr. Paul Masterson, and Dr. Richard Lam are all working hard to provide quality dental care and eliminate the cause of jaw pain.

Causes of Jaw Pain

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a condition that causes jaw pain, ear pain, headaches, and jaw stiffness. It is caused by:

  • Trauma
  • Jaw clenching or teeth grinding
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Sinus Problems

Sinuses are comprised of a system of connected hollow cavities in the skull. The largest sinuses are the maxillary sinuses, which measure about an inch across. There are two of these; each is located above the cheekbones, below the eyes. The smaller ethmoid sinuses are located between the eyes within the ethmoid bone. The frontal sinuses are in the forehead, just behind the eyes. The sphenoid sinuses are behind the nose. The sinuses are usually empty except for a small amount of mucus. A sinus infection causes the tissue that lines the sinus to become inflamed. The inflammation can cause you to feel pain in your upper jaw.

Tooth Pain

A dental abscess is a puss-filled pocket caused by a bacterial infection. This type of abscess can occur at the tip of a tooth’s root or the side of the root. As well as causing pain in the tooth, gum, and face, a dental abscess can also cause swelling and pain in the jaw. If you notice a constant ache in your tooth, contact your Salem, NH, dentist right away. 

Trigeminal Neuralgia

In the United States, 45,000 people are known to be suffering from trigeminal neuralgia (TGN). This condition affects the trigeminal or 5th cranial nerve causing chronic pain. The trigeminal nerve is one of the most widely distributed nerves in the head. It is responsible for sensations in the scalp, forehead, cheeks, jaw, and gums as well as chewing and biting motions.

The treatment for jaw pain will depend on the underlying cause and may range from pain medications to surgery. Talking to a dental expert will help you find a solution, including TMJ treatment. If you’re experiencing jaw pain, and you live in Salem, NH, contact Stiles Family Dentistry today at (603) 893-4538. Dr. Nicholas Papapetros, Dr. Jhon Giraldo, Dr. Paul Masterson, and Dr. Richard Lam are here to help.

By Stiles Family Dentistry
August 01, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain  

What your dentists in Salem want you to knowjaw pain

Jaw pain can affect you at any moment. Whether it’s a sharp, stabbing pain or a dull throbbing ache, jaw pain can be debilitating. You may experience headaches or earaches along with the jaw pain. So what is causing your jaw pain? That’s a good question and one that the dentists at Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, NH want to help answer.

There are a few issues which could be causing your jaw pain. It’s important to identify the cause in order to develop the correct treatment plan to reduce or eliminate your pain.

One of the most common causes of jaw pain is grinding and clenching. If you snore, or suffer from sleep apnea, you may also be grinding your teeth at night too! If you first experience jaw pain when you wake up, chances are you are grinding your teeth at night.

Night grinding affects your jaws, causing inflammation, swelling and pain. It also causes excessive tooth wear. The best thing you can do is visit your dentist for a custom-fit nightguard or night splint. These devices help to prevent wear on your teeth.

Another common cause of jaw pain is temporomandibular joint misalignment. Your temporomandibular joint, also called the TMJ, is a unique joint because it slides back and forth to help you open and close your jaws. It can become dislocated or misaligned easily, resulting in increased wear on the joint, inflammation, swelling and pain.

A visit to your dentists at Stiles Family Dentistry can help with TMJ issues. They can recommend several effective treatments for your jaw pain related to TMJ. Common treatments include thermal therapy, night splints custom-made to fit your jaws, prescription anti-inflammatory and pain medications.

If you are suffering from painful jaws, suffer no more! Instead, get some relief by calling the dentists at Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, NH. Take charge of your pain by calling today!

By Stiles Family Dentistry
October 13, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain   tmj  

Dealing with jaw pain due to a TMJ disorder? Find out how our Salem, NH dentists can help.

Are you suffering from chronic jaw pain? Do you notice that your jaws ache when you wake up? Do you notice frequent headaches in tmjthe morning? Then your jaw pain could be caused by a TMJ disorder, a condition that affects how the jaw joint and muscles function. Our Salem, NH family dentists Dr. Nicholas Papapetros and Dr. Paul Masterson are here to tell you ways to eliminate your TMJ-related jaw pain.

If you are dealing with symptoms for more than two weeks then this is something you should discuss with our Salem, NH general dentists. Of course, there are a variety of ways to address your pain from the comfort of your own home:

  • Try over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, which can reduce any pain or jaw swelling.
  • Apply a warm compress to the side of the jaw that is in pain for up to 20 minutes at a time several times a day.
  • Alter your diet to remove certain hard foods or foods that require you to open your jaw too wide. Opt for softer foods and always cut foods into bite-size pieces, which will be more manageable.
  • Stay away from hard candies or chewing gum, which can stretch out the mouth too wide and exacerbate your condition.
  • It might sound silly but talk to us about certain mouth exercises you can perform every day to help improve muscle strength and retrain the muscles.
  • If your TMJ disorder is due to anxiety it’s a good time to find outlets to get rid of stress, including meditation or performing daily relaxation exercises.

If you don’t notice an improvement in your symptoms then we may need to consider other options including wearing a night splint or mouth guard. Certain prescription medications may also be used to combat TMJ-related jaw pain. Very rarely is surgery necessary unless no other treatment options provide the relief you need.

The dentists at Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, NH are here to make sure that your smile always stays healthy. Pain should never be something that you have to put up with. If you are suffering from jaw pain then it’s time you got the relief you need.