Orofacial Pain Specialist Services in Hawthorne, NY
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Are you struggling with persistent orofacial pain? Do you experience unrelenting toothaches, frequent headaches, or jaw discomfort? It's time to consult an orofacial pain specialist at Touro Dental Health in Hawthorne, NY. Nearly 22% of adults grapple with orofacial pain, and we're here to help you find relief.
What is Orofacial Pain?
Orofacial pain, a newly recognized specialty focuses on diagnosing and treating painful conditions affecting the mouth, face, head, neck, and surrounding regions. This pain can be complex, sometimes originating in one area but manifesting elsewhere.
Our orofacial pain specialists are trained to diagnose, treat and manage a range of conditions, including headache disorders, muscle pain, muscle aches or muscle spasm, facial pain, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, nerve pain (cranial neuralgias and neuropathic pain), burning mouth syndrome and oromotor disorders (grinding, clenching, and involuntary movements). They also manage sleep-related breathing disorders with oral appliance therapy and treat chronic pain conditions affecting the head and neck. Each diagnosis and treatment plan is tailored to your specific needs.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, connects the lower jaw to the upper jaw. TMD, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, is a term that includes disorders of the joint and its supporting muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Some symptoms of TMD may include jaw clicking, jaw locking, stiffness or limited jaw movement, changes in your bite alignment, or ear pain.
When to See an Orofacial Pain Specialist
Reach out to us if you're experiencing:
Burning or soreness in the tongue or mouth
Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) is a painful and difficult-to-diagnose condition often described as a constant burning or tingling feeling in the mouth.
Shooting or burning pain sensations in the head, face, and mouth
This may point to nerve-related pain such as trigeminal neuralgia or a headache disorder.
The TMJ or temporomandibular joint is the joint where your lower jaw meets your skull. Conditions involving pain and dysfunction in the TMJ are called TMD or Temporomandibular disorder. This can include not just pain associated with the actual joint but also the supporting structures such as the muscles, ligaments, or tendons.
Headaches that prevent you from completing normal daily activities, and/or happen frequently enough to be disruptive.
Unexplained toothaches (atypical odontalgia)
Unexplained toothaches imply toothaches that are not due to a cavity or gum infection (periodontal condition). Atypical toothaches are associated with nerve-related conditions or headache disorders. If you experience chronic pain in one or more of your teeth that doesn’t have a clear cause and isn’t affected by outside factors, an orofacial pain specialist may be able to help you figure out the cause or treatment.
Chronic daily headaches are headaches that occur at least 15 days out of the month. Many headache disorders can become chronic including migraine and tension-type headache.
Migraine is a neurological condition that is often divided into a migraine with and without aura. It is a disabling condition that is characterized by pain that is moderate to severe in intensity and often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to light/sound. If you experience migraine, you may often experience warning signs like food cravings, mood shifts, and/or increased yawning in the 24 hours before an attack, and confusion or exhaustion after the attack subsides.
Trouble sleeping, snoring or obstructive sleep apnea
Insomnia or snoring may be associated with a sleep-related breathing disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition in which the muscles in the throat relax and cause the airways to become blocked causing your breathing to start and stop throughout the night. Some individuals with obstructive sleep apnea will report that their bedpartners notice they gasp for air or choke in their sleep.
Jaw clicking or popping
Noises like these, and accompanying pain and discomfort, could indicate the disc that cushions the movement between your skull and your jaw has moved out of place.
Limited jaw mobility or jaw locking
Limited or painful movement in the jaw is another possible sign of TMJ disorder (called TMD or Temporomandibular disorder).
Any kind of gap or disruption in the normal positioning of the temporal bone at the bottom of the skull and the jaw. An orofacial pain specialist may be able to reposition your jaw, or prescribe other necessary treatments.
Pain after you’ve had facial, mouth, or head trauma
Trauma to the head and neck can cause a number of complex responses in that area. Professional diagnosis can help you understand how to handle and treat the pain from your injury and may prevent chronic pain from worsening down the line.
Teeth grinding, teeth clenching (bruxism)
Bruxism refers to repetitive jaw muscle activity that’s characterized by teeth grinding, or prolonged, forceful clenching of the jaw or teeth. It is associated with various facial pain conditions including migraine, TMD as well as sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. While most common at night, it can sometimes also happen during the day.
Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Tinnitus is often due to an underlying condition but may be idiopathic in nature. It may be characterized by a ringing in the ears, a whooshing sound clicking, or humming sound. Some forms of tinnitus are related to pain conditions affecting the head and neck such as TMD.
Ear pain and/or ear fullness
Ear pressure or sharp, dull, or burning ear pain may stem from a variety of conditions including TMD or a headache disorder.
Individuals with TMD often complain of dizziness and vertigo.
Facial pain and atypical facial pain
Atypical facial pain is a diagnosis often given to facial pain that may be related to nerve pain (neuropathic) or a headache disorder.
90% of self-diagnosed sinus headaches are undiagnosed migraine. "Sinus headaches" are used to describe headaches that are thought to be caused by inflammation or congestion in the sinuses; however, this term is a misnomer. Research has shown that up to 90% of people who self-diagnose with sinus headaches actually have migraine. This is because the symptoms of sinus headaches, such as facial pain and pressure, are also common symptoms of migraine. Headaches that are attributed to sinus disease are called rhinogenic headaches. These headaches are caused by inflammation or irritation of the nasal passages or sinuses, and they can be accompanied by symptoms such as nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, and sinus pressure. Nasal congestion, post-nasal drip and sinus pressure can all also occur with migraine. The presence or absence of purulent nasal discharge and/or other features diagnostic of rhinosinusitis help to differentiate these conditions.
Jaw muscle pain and/or spasm
Jaw muscle pain and/or spasms may be associated with TMJ-related pain as well as teeth grinding and/or clenching (bruxism)
Trigeminal neuralgia and/or other cranial neuralgias
Trigeminal neuralgia is often described as a sharp, lacinating pain or like an electric shock in the face.
Nerve pain, or neuropathic pain
Neuropathic pain often presents as a constant burning or electric pain that may present with periods of various intensity. It may also present as tingling, numbness, or even a pins-and-needles sensation.
Unexplained neck pain
Neck pain could be related to a variety of conditions affecting the head and neck ranging from TMD to headache disorders to pain referral patterns from other musculoskeletal conditions.
Head and neck pain secondary to cancer or cancer therapy
After a cancer diagnosis or treatment, you may experience head or neck pain. We can help.
What Are Some Orofacial Pain Treatments?
We work with every patient to come up with the best possible treatment plan for that individual. Our approach is multidisciplinary and we collaborate with providers in various specialties including neurology, sleep medicine, psychiatry, psychology, physical therapy, ENT etc to provide comprehensive care. Treatments may include:
Various oral and facial pain conditions may be treated with injections including injections into the TMJ as well as injections into surrounding and supporting structures.
Botox ® is a therapeutic option that is FDA-approved for the prevention of chronic migraine. It also at times is a supplementary treatment option for TMJ-related pain, sore jaw muscles, and painful bruxism (teeth grinding), given in addition to the main treatment.
This an appliance worn on the upper or lower jaw or sometimes both to help relieve and treat TMJ-related pain/TMD.
Mandibular advancement devices for sleep apnea
This is an upper and lower appliance that is worn at night time to treat obstructive sleep apnea. It prevents the jaw from falling backward and then subsequently prevents the tongue from collapsing on the airway.
As a multidisciplinary center, we work closely with psychologists and psychiatrists to treat your condition from multiple angles. Biofeedback focuses on training individuals to change their physiological activity to improve health.
Depending on the condition and cause of the pain, physical therapy can promote healing, provide relief, strengthen muscles, improve jaw opening, and decrease pain especially when the pain is musculoskeletal in nature.
Examples of behavior changes that might help a patient with jaw pain, include a softer diet, reviewing ergonomics, and creating a plan to promote a healthier lifestyle.
Medication could help treat the orofacial pain.
Acupuncture has various applications in the field of pain and sleep and may be used in some cases as part of a treatment plan.
A nerve block is a medication injection near a nerve to provide temporary pain relief. This can be used to diagnose an issue or as part of therapeutic treatment.
Make an Appointment
At Touro Dental Health, we're dedicated to enhancing your well-being by addressing orofacial pain and related issues. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our experienced orofacial pain specialists in Hawthorne, NY.