Potential Causes of Facial Pain From Arthritis to TMJ

Teeth grinding

If you’re experiencing facial pain, you’re not alone. While this may be caused by a variety of reasons, such as jaw arthritis and migraines, it could also be due to a temporomandibular disorder such as TMJ. As a result of these and other related issues, you may also be experiencing trouble falling or staying asleep.

Recent data shows that over 15% adults within the United States experience chronic facial pain. In addition to 37 million people suffering from migraines in this country, 35 million have been diagnosed with TMJ, 95% of which are women.

A recent study was published in the Journal of Dental Research. The results of this study showed that the participants with obstructive sleep apnea had a 73% higher incidence of
temporomandibular disorder symptoms.

In ofter to determine the underlying causes of your facial pain, it would be a good idea to visit the dentist. Once they determine what may be causing this pain, they will be able to recommend a course of action for facial pain management. In addition to treating dental issues, a dentist may also recommend medication, non-surgical, and surgical treatments.

If you do have a TMJ disorder, the Mayo Clinic states that both medications and non-surgical treatments may assist with facial pain management. These include pain relievers and anti-inflammatories. In some instances, over-the-counter medications may be sufficient; however, when they are not, a dentist can prescribe a stronger pain reliever. Muscle relaxants and anti-depressive drugs may also assist with facial pain management.

In addition to the aforementioned medications, the Mayo Clinic also indicates that there are non-surgical treatments available for TMJ. These include wearing oral splints or mouth guards, physical therapy, and counseling. If these non-surgical procedures aren’t effective, or a dentist determines that surgery or another type of treatment may be indicated, the Mayo Clinic states that there are a variety of procedures that may be recommended. These include minimally-invasive procedures such as arthrocentesis, Botox injections, and TMJ arthroscopy.

Since pain can adversely affect a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being, once it is determined what may be or is causing your facial pain, it’s important to follow through with the recommendations from your family dentist. It’s possible that your dentist will refer you to another medical or mental health provider to assess the source of your pain and to determine whether or not you have migraines, obstructive sleep apnea, or another underlying cause.

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