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What is oral facial pain? Sleep Disorders
Temporomandibular Disorders Treatments
Headaches Stress & Your Teeth
What is oral facial pain?

There is help for oral facial pain.

     Fact:   One out of every four American adults suffers from oral facial pain.

     Fact:  Left untreated, toothaches and headaches can interfere with vital functions such as eating, talking and swallowing.     

    Oral facial pain includes a number of clinical problems involving the chewing muscles or temporomandibular joint.  Problems can include:


temporomandibular joint discomfort


muscles spasms in the head


neck and jaw




cluster or frequent headaches


pain with teeth, face or jaw





     You swallow approximately 2,000 times per day which causes the upper and lower teeth to come together and push against the skull.  People who have:

  1. unstable bite

  2. missing teeth

  3. poorly aligned teeth

  4. clenching

  5. grinding teeth

  6. trauma to head and neck 

  7. poor ergonomics............

           ......have trouble because the muscles work harder to bring the teeth together, causing strain.  This pain my also occur in ears, eyes, sinuses, checks or side of the head or there may a clicking when moving the jaw or even locking if the jaw is opened or closed.

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Temporomandibular disorders (TMD)

     The National Institutes of Health estimates that more than 10 million Americans have TMD or problems affecting the jaw joint and/or muscles.  Your temporomandibular joints are located where the skull connects to your lower jaw.  To feel these joints, place your finger in the front of both ears and open your mouth The muscles on the Sides of your head and face control the joints' movements.

    Researchers believe women have 20 to 40 are most likely to suffer from TMD because of the added estrogen in their bodies.

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     One in eight Americans suffers from headaches.  Experts estimate that 80 percent of all headaches are caused by muscles tension, which may be related to the bite.  Headaches also can be caused by clenching jaw muscles for long periods of time.  Signs that may indicate a headache from a dental origin include:


Pain behind the eyes


Sore jaw muscles or "tired" muscles upon awaking


Teeth grinding


Clicking or popping jaw joints


Head and/or scalp is painful to the touch


Earaches or ringing


Neck, shoulder  or back pain



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Sleep Disorders

     If you have gone through treatment and still experience oral facial pain, you may have a sleep disorder, such as bruxism, or a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as snoring or sleep apnea.  Bruxism is the technical term for grinding and clenching

    Snoring that goes undiagnosed may lead to an increased tendency for the airway to collapse, leading to sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea is a condition when the tissues and muscles in the back of the throat collapse the airway.  This can cause a person to wake up multiple times in the middle of the night, sometimes without knowing it.  

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     We have a variety of treatments that will help alleviate your oral facial symptoms.  One device is called an splint that is worn over the teeth until the bite can be stabilized.  Permanent correction may require:

  1. Reshaping teeth

  2. Building crowns

  3. Braces

  4. Appliance for the mouth

  5. Physical therapy

  6. Counseling

  7. Relaxation training 

  8. Massage therapy

  9. Other ways to alleviate the pain include:


An ice pack for 10 minutes 3-4 times a day


Eat softer foods


Avoid chewy foods or ice


Cut food into smaller pieces


Keep upper and lower teeth slightly apart except when chewing 
and swallowing.  Keeping your tongue between your teeth may 
help with this.


Sleep on your back


Do not rest your hand on your chin. 


When talking on the phone do not rest the receiver on your 

How We Help

     We will take a medical and dental history to determine if any trauma has occurred in the facial area, perform a physical examination to examine your temporomandibular joint and look at heard and neck structure.

     Maintaining or correcting your bite ensures optimal health and proper care will help reduce or eliminate orofacial pain or discomfort.

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Resource: Fact Sheet, AGD Impact.  January 2002  & March 2004.

February 06, 2008

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