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FAQ:  Jaw Pain



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Question:
For the past year or so I have had chronic sinus problems on my left side - fluid in the left ear, congestion on the left side of my sinus, occasional ear ache. I also have had a sensitive tooth on the left side with near the gum line for a few years as well.

At my exam 12 months ago I explained the tooth sensitivity to the dentist and he studied the x-ray and didn't see anything wrong. In the last 2 months or so, I have been experiencing a dull ache in my jaw under the general sensitive tooth area. I don't seem to have any swelling, no pain when I touch my jaw or tooth area.

Would a root canal ease this pain or do you think it is TMJ that has similar symptoms. I am also concerned that since it has been so long, that I could have an even bigger problem than that. What can happen if there has been infection of something of that nature for that long in the tooth or jaw? ...Visitor from Alaska

Answer:
Regarding your sinus and ear pain. Do you sleep with the left side of your head on your pillow? My guess is that you do. The hole that drains the Maxillary sinus is located close to the nose space. If you sleep on your left side your left sinus can fill with fluid and cause problems.

This can also cause problems for your left jaw joint. Typical symptoms include edema-that is a watery feeling in your jaw joint or ear, and pain. I recommend sleeping on your back or supporting your cheekbone so your jaw can hang while you are sleeping.

Regarding your tooth pain. You could be grinding on that tooth at night. To find out, go to a dentist who knows how to diagnose working and non-working interferences in Centric Relation. A dentist can fit you with a nightguard which keeps your teeth from touching at night, which is when most people grind the hardest.

It is important to note that sometimes heart problems can cause referred pain to the teeth and jaws. It is rare, but it does happen. If you have questions, consult your cardiologist. I hope this has been helpful.

Editorial Staff

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