Understanding why Chewing Can be Uncomfortable
Our mouths are remarkable structures, and it is important to pay attention to any changes that occur in them. One of the most common issues people experience is pain when chewing, which can be caused by a number of different conditions.
Causes of Chewing Pain
- Canker Sores – Small, painful lesions can form on the tongue, gums, or inner part of the cheek, causing a burning, tingling sensation when chewing.
- Bad Bites – This occurs when the upper and lower teeth don’t fit together correctly, which can make it difficult to chew.
- Jaw Diseases – Jaw diseases such as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, can lead to pain while chewing.
- Gum Disease – Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can cause pain in teeth and gums.
- Tooth Decay – Tooth decay is caused by bacteria from plaque buildup, and can cause pain when chewing.
Whether it is due to a small canker sore or a serious problem such as jaw disease, professionals can help to relieve the discomfort associated with eating. Your doctor or dentist may be able to identify the underlying cause of the pain and provide treatment for the condition. Some treatment options may include:
- Painkillers – Over-the-counter painkillers can help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Mouthwash – A special, medicated mouthwash may reduce the pain.
- Gargling – A warm rinse of salt water can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
- Surgery – In the case of jaw diseases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pain.
If you experience pain while chewing, it is important to speak to your doctor or dentist about the cause and possible treatments. With the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment, the discomfort associated with eating can be successfully managed.
5. What medical tests are available to diagnose the cause of pain when chewing?
The following tests may be used to diagnose the cause of pain when chewing:
1. X-rays: X-rays can provide images of the jaw, teeth, and underlying bone structures that can reveal sources of pain, including infections and crooked teeth.
2. Blood tests: Blood tests can reveal underlying chronic conditions that could be causing pain, such as diabetes or anemia.
3. Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as CT scans and MRIs can provide detailed images of the jaw and underlying structures, allowing doctors to identify causes of pain related to degenerative diseases, infections, and other medical conditions.
4. Jaw joint/muscle exam: Doctors may use a variety of tests or methods to examine the jaw and its muscles to determine if any dysfunction is causing the pain. This can include looking for swelling or tenderness, testing range of motion, testing for clicking or popping and assessing the bite.
5. Tooth examination: A thorough examination of the teeth can help determine if any problems with the teeth or gums are causing pain. This can include looking for signs of decay, infection, misalignment, or clenching and grinding.