Could my facial pain be related to a dental problem?
Some 15 percent of American adults experience chronic facial pain, according to the American Dental Association. The affliction can range from severe pain around and in the jaw and ear, to moderate pain and clicking and popping noises when opening the mouth to speak or chew. The pain can radiate into a general, dull ache in the head and neck.
A dental problem could certainly be the cause. For instance, an infection in a tooth, or in the sinus or gums, could lead to facial pain. It could also come from a malfunction in the temporal mandibular joint (TMJ), which is just in front of the ears. Your dentist will most likely be able to identify the cause of the problem through an examination.
Treatment for TMJ pain could range from stress-reduction exercises to muscle-relaxing medication. Some cases have been alleviated by wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent teeth-grinding, a condition called bruxism. If you are experiencing unexplained facial pain, a trip to the dentist might help identify its cause.
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