What Is Orofacial Pain, and How Does It Relate to Dental Health?

January 30, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — drsong @ 12:05 am

woman with mouth painThere are all different kinds of pain. There’s the pain that comes when your favorite team loses its spot in the playoffs, the pain of a stubbed toe, the pain after an intense workout, etc. But there is one type of pain that relates directly to your dental health — orofacial pain. What exactly is it, what causes it, and what can you do about it?

Orofacial Pain — What It Is

“Orofacial pain” is an umbrella term that applies to any mouth, face, or jaw pain. It might seem like any other type of ache or discomfort that you feel throughout your body, but recent scientific discoveries have revealed that it is a unique phenomenon.

Researchers in Oregon decided to take a closer look at orofacial pain and the biological process behind it. They learned that it has a direct connection to a specific pain-signaling protein. When your face, jaw, or mouth is suffering, your body drastically increases the production of this protein. When your brain gets the message from the protein that something is wrong, you start to feel the agony of whatever is wrong with your orofacial area. The significance of this discovery is that it may lead researchers to uncover new ways to relieve orofacial pain.

What Causes Orofacial Pain?

There are many possible causes of orofacial pain, but it is worth noting that over 95 percent of cases are related to dental health issues. A few problems with your mouth that may lead to orofacial ouches include:

  • TMJ disorder. You may experience pain when the joint that connects your lower jaw to the rest of your skull gets strained.
  • An abscessed tooth. Bacteria may work its way into your tooth, leading to a painful infection.
  • The pulp is the innermost layer of your tooth. When it becomes inflamed, this is known as pulpitis.
  • Cracked or broken teeth or jaw injuries. These might occur during a sports game or accident, or when you bite down on something too hard.
  • Gum disease. When your gums become inflamed, they may become tender and extremely sensitive. If the condition progresses, it can lead to more serious complications.
  • Oral cancer. Cancer can develop anywhere in the throat, mouth, or lips.

Relief for Orofacial Pain

Until scientists roll out new and advanced methods of addressing orofacial pain, you’ll have to stick to old-fashioned methods of handling your discomfort. Finding relief begins with identifying why you’re in pain. Your dentist may be able to diagnose the issue at the heart of your agony and provide treatment. You might need a root canal, gum disease therapy, or another procedure that will help get your oral health back on track.

Orofacial pain is no fun! Fortunately, your dentist in Greater Heights can help make the ouch go away.

About Sunrise Dental

At Sunrise Dental, we offer a broad range of dental services that are designed to preserve and restore your smile. If you’re experiencing orofacial pain, we’d be happy to see if we can help. Please contact us at 713-869-9973.

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