Stress-related jaw pain during the Coronavirus Pandemic

stress related jaw painRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Our entire society has been upended as part of the global fight against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Attempts to contain COVID-19 have canceled major events and affected the way many people shop, travel, and work. Whether you’re living with the immediate threat of coronavirus or consequences of the containment, this is a stressful time for everyone. Stress is also a common cause of jaw pain. Your neuromuscular dentist in Royal Oak, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, wants you to know how she can help treat your stress-related jaw pain, even during the coronavirus pandemic.

How does stress threaten your oral health?

Stress is considered the most common culprit of bruxism—the clinical term for teeth grinding. Many people who grind their teeth do it when they’re sleeping, and may never realize that they’re doing it. Meanwhile, their teeth and mouths can be devastated by the habit. Bruxism can wear your teeth down to the nubs. It also can throw off the alignment of your jaws, leading to a case of temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMJ disorder or TMD).

The Causes of Jaw Pain

  • TMJ disorder: You may not even know where your temporomandibular joint is (it’s a small, round joint connecting your jaw to your skull), but if it malfunctions, it can have major consequences on your oral health and overall quality of life. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that about 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorder at any one time. This number is merely an estimate, however, because many people who have this ailment never realize it, they do not receive a proper diagnosis or treatment. TMJ disorder also is one of the most significant diagnostic challenges in medicine. It can be misidentified as another ailment—such as migraine headaches, for example, because TMD sufferers also experience frequently occurring headaches that cause intense pain like migraines.  
  • Tooth pain: Nothing can ruin your day quite like a toothache. Tooth pain also can lead to jaw trauma if whatever is affecting the tooth is not identified, diagnosed, and treated. Common culprits for tooth pain include cavities, tooth decay, damage due to an injury, or an infected tooth. However, dental pain is a sign that something is going on in your mouth, and the dentist should assess it.

How to Relieve Jaw Pain  

Right now, as we continue to take measures to battle against the spread of COVID-19, the American Dental Association is recommending a pause on all non-essential dental care—such as cleanings and cosmetic procedures. Dr. Hartrick is still seeing patients as she, and her team, exercise extreme precautions to keep patients safe while receiving care. If, however, if you do not wish to leave your home during the coronavirus pandemic, you may try applying moist heat or ice packs to your face on 10-minute intervals and taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve your discomfort.

In the meantime, Dr. Nancy Hartrick and her team of oral health professionals at Hartrick Dentistry are available to help treat the cause of your jaw pain and provide relief. She is experienced and trained in dealing with both TMJ disorder and bruxism. She also has the expertise and resources to provide comprehensive oral care in nearly any area of essential service where you may have a need.

Providing Dental Care During COVID-19 in Royal Oak

If you do need dental care during this stressful and uncertain time, you can trust your provider at Hartrick Dentistry. We maintain OSHA standards for cleanliness and sanitization. We’ve taken additional steps, like removing magazines from our lobby and asking patients to wait in their vehicles until their appointment is ready to begin. We ask that you please call our office before you enter. Also, each patient will have their temperature taken as they arrive for their appointment. Moreover, members of our clinical team who have direct contact with patients must wear protective gear such as gloves, surgical-grade masks, and goggles. If you have any additional questions about our policies during the coronavirus pandemic, or if you live in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan, and you need dental care during COVID-19, please call us at (248) 549-0950 to schedule your appointment today.

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    Dr. Nancy Hartrick, DDS
    32609 Woodward Ave.
    Royal Oak, MI 48073
    Call: 248-549-0950
    Fax: 248-549-1180