Dear Valued Patient of D&P Dentistry, 


We are happy to report that we are able to start the process of a soft reopening as of May 11th.  However, there will be many policy changes made within the office that will be utilized at least for the first several weeks of as we adapt to these uncertain times.  We will be seeing patients at half capacity in order to practice optimum infection control, social distancing and also to control the burn rate of our personal protective equipment as it will still not be readily available in the future. 


 If you have an upcoming appointment and plan to reschedule PLEASE call us asap! As we are continuing to work on the schedule and accommodate everyone. The following are important steps patients should be informed of...


1.  Please arrive promptly for you appointment, remain in your car and call the office at (352) 331-4626 when you arrive.  
2.  Please wear your face covering or mask in the office (pursuant to the state of Florida office of the governor executive order number 20-11 and Alachua County Commissioner. 
3. A staff member will meet you at your car where you will be screened. We will check your temperature and pulse ox and have you fill out a questionnaire.  
4. We will take you straight back to the treatment room for your procedure. 
5. We ask that anyone accompanying you remain in the car. 


  * Please bring a jacket or blanket if you normally get cold! The temperature will be down and we will be wearing added gear. 


While some things seem so different we hope you find comfort knowing that at we are taking all necessary steps to protect our patients and staff.  Under all the masks and face shields the same familiar faces you are used to seeing will be taking care of you! 
                           

Thank you for your support!

 D&P Dentistry Team
 

We will continue to provide updates as needed. 

The Causes of Jaw Pain

woman with jaw painNearly everyone suffers from some sort of jaw pain at some time in their lives. Pain may be continuous or occasional, severe or mild, sharp and shooting or an aching throb. It can be very specific or extremely vague. Regardless of the specific symptoms, it usually has the singular purpose of notifying the patient that something is not quite right.

The head and neck region is an incredibly complex part of the human body, both anatomically and functionally. There are any number of conditions that can cause jaw pain, which can make the diagnosis challenging.

When patients experience a pain in their jaw that does not go away, they should pay close attention to all of their symptoms. With a strong understanding of your medical history, dentists can usually determine the origin and start taking steps to correct the problem.

The Many Causes

Jaw pain can be disconcerting for patients. It affects their ability to eat, speak, sleep, and function throughout the day. It can also take a toll on their sense of well-being.

It would be difficult to list all possible causes for jaw pain. However, most of the complaints normally heard in dental offices are caused by conditions that fit into a few broad categories.

Dental

The dentist will begin the evaluation process under the assumption that the cause of a patient's pain is related to dentition. This would include cracked, decayed, or abscessed teeth, teeth that are overly sensitive because of dentin hypersensitivity, teeth that are damaged as a result of gum disease, or impacted wisdom teeth. If a definite offender can be found, the search might stop here, and treatment can begin.

Depending on the causative factor, the treatment could consist of placing restorations, performing root canal therapy or tooth desensitization procedures, wisdom tooth removal, or the treatment or extraction.

When patients experience a pain in their jaw that does not go away, they should pay close attention to all the symptoms. With a good history, their dentist can usually determine the origin and start taking steps to correct the problem. 

Joint/Muscle

Another area the dentist would want to investigate is the jaw joint, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Patients who grit, clench, or grind their teeth excessively, who have an uneven bite, are under a great deal of stress, or who have a pathologic condition in the joint itself, such as arthritis or disk displacement, could be suffering from a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. Its symptoms include an aching jaw, pain on opening and closing, jaw stiffness, and popping or clicking in the jaw. Another condition that can mimic pain in the TMJ and should be considered in the differential diagnosis is ear pain, such as that caused by an ear infection.

The treatment for TMD is usually a multi-pronged approach, which could include measures to lower stress levels, fabricating a bite guard, applying heat and/or cold packs, and dispensing pain medications. If these measures do not work, the dentist might consider referring the patient to a maxillofacial and oral surgeon to evaluate whether surgery on the TMJ is indicated. If the pain is believed to be radiating from the ear, referral to a physician might be the next step.

x-ray of the jawJaw Pathology

There are a variety of fluid-filled cysts and other pathological tumors that can form in the jaws and cause pain. These include such entities as dentigerous cysts, odontomas, ameloblastomas, and cancerous lesions. These can sometimes grow aggressively and destroy a large portion of the jaw. A panoramic radiograph is the best way to quickly identify or rule out this source of pain. If a lesion is located, the dentist will want to refer the patient to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for further evaluation and treatment.

Sinus

The maxillary sinus is located just above the roots of the upper back teeth. When it becomes inflamed or infected, it can cause pain that feels identical to a toothache in an upper molar. A discriminating dentist will be able to distinguish between the two, and if the pain is sinus-related, refer the patient to a physician for treatment of the sinus condition.

Nerve and/or Vascular

This could be any one of a large group of neuralgias arising in the head and neck region that are caused by nerve and/or vascular tissues. Some of these are relatively common, but a few are not. These include such conditions as tension, cluster, or migraine headaches, a type of nerve pain known as trigeminal neuralgia, temporal arteritis, and a host of others. Dentists suspecting any of these conditions may refer patients to a physician for further evaluation.

Referred/Cardiovascular

Problems arising in other parts of the body can present as jaw pain. Pain that is felt in a location other than its point of origin is known as referred pain. Most dentists are aware of this phenomenon and almost always consider it as part of their differential diagnosis if they are unable to establish any other cause for the pain.

One particularly significant type of referred pain to the jaw that is occasionally seen is that which arises during a heart attack. These patients often come to the dentist complaining of pain in the jaw. A dentist who cannot find a dentition-related cause for the pain should suspect that the patient could be having a heart attack. Other possible symptoms the patient might be having include:

  • Pain in the left shoulder
  • Pressure or tightness in the chest
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Shortness of breath and fatigue
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Especially suspect are those patients who have heart attack risk factors—for example, a middle-aged smoker who is overweight, perhaps diabetic, in poor physical shape, and who has a history of hypertension and/or high cholesterol. In cases such as these, decisive action by an alert dentist could save the patient's life.

The Road to Relief Begins at the Dental Office

There are many possible causes for jaw pain, and patients cannot always discern what is causing theirs. If it persists, you should schedule a dental appointment. Dentists are highly astute in evaluating the source of head and neck pain, and they are well qualified to treat many of the causes. For those patients they are unable to help, they will refer them to the appropriate dental or medical specialist.

D&P Dentistry

The team of dental professionals at D&P Dentistry provides exceptional dental work and patient education to help you and your family achieve your best smiles. Our doctors are affiliated with:

  • American Dental Association
  • Alachua County Dental Association

To schedule an appointment at our Gainesville, FL, office, please contact us online or call (352) 331-4626.

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7575 W University Ave
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