05 Sep What is Orofacial Pain and How Can it Be Treated?
Orofacial pain is discomfort that occurs from problems within the oral cavity and its surrounding tissues, including those that involve the lower half of the face. Since orofacial pain has a few underlying causes, the type of treatment can vary. For those whose orofacial pain is related to deformities, abnormalities, and irregularities of the jaws, temporomandibular joints (TMJs), or diseased teeth that require extraction, oral surgery is often necessary to improve one’s symptoms and quality of life. Our oral surgeon offers expertise in treating an array of conditions that affect oral health and the lower part of the face.
What can cause orofacial pain?
Common culprits behind orofacial pain include facial trauma, jawbone irregularities and alignment issues, and TMJ disorder. Facial trauma can involve both hard and soft tissues of the face and oral cavity. When treating traumatic injuries, oral surgery is needed to repair damaged tissue, increase oral function, and reduce the likelihood of scarring or disfigurement.
Jawbone irregularities can lead to pain and discomfort as well—especially during oral function. Sometimes, one jawbone can develop more densely or larger than the other one. This can lead to strain on the joints that connect the jaw to the skull as well as surrounding soft tissue like facial muscles and ligaments. Jawbone irregularities can also affect the health of teeth by causing an improper bite (malocclusion). Improper bites lead to teeth making contact in inappropriate places, thus resulting in untimely tooth wear and orofacial pain.
If TMJ disorder is to blame for orofacial pain, a dentist might first try to remedy the situation with restorations to rebuild a patient’s bite along with recommending stress reduction techniques and oral appliances like nightguards to prevent bruxism (grinding and clenching of teeth). If these treatments do not offer relief, patients may be referred to our oral surgeon to correct the alignment of the jawbones or repair a damaged TMJ.
To schedule a consultation, contact our team at Central Oklahoma Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates today.