Orofacial pain refers to discomfort in the oral cavity or along the face. Common areas include the jaw, beneath the ears, just under the cheeks, and inside the oral cavity. Orofacial pain can encompass a few different conditions.
Since the origin of orofacial pain varies, our oral surgeons will need to conduct a thorough oral health evaluation to determine the appropriate course of action. When treating orofacial pain, the objectives are to increase oral function and improve one’s comfort level. Treatment for orofacial pain can include orthognathic (jaw) surgery and tooth extractions.
Causes of Orofacial Pain
There are two conditions that are responsible for the majority of oral facial pain. The first is teeth that have internal infections. Normally an abscessed tooth or one with pulpitis is to blame. Teeth that are abscessed or internally infected can produce severe pain.
Unless a tooth can be saved with endodontic therapy or restorations, it will need to be extracted by our oral surgeon. A tooth extraction will alleviate discomfort caused by a badly diseased tooth along with preventing the infection from spreading to neighboring tissues.
Wisdom teeth can cause orofacial pain because they become infected very easily due to improper eruption. These teeth might also contribute to jaw pain and headaches because they negatively affect the occlusion by crowding existing teeth. For these reasons, wisdom teeth are some of the most commonly extracted teeth.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is the second most common cause of orofacial pain. This condition involves dysfunction of the TMJs. The TMJ works with soft tissue like facial muscles and ligaments to move the mouth. Each time a person speaks or chews food, the TMJ is engaged.
When the TMJs are strained by occlusal issues, misaligned jaws, or habits like bruxism, the joint can dysfunction. TMJ disorder can be very uncomfortable and debilitating. When restorations, orthodontic treatment, and stress reduction therapy is not enough to alleviate symptoms, jaw surgery might be necessary.
If you suffer with orofacial pain or have been referred to our practice, call our team at Northern Texas Facial & Oral Surgery to reserve a consultation.