Trouble Eating Difficulty Chewing
Trouble chewing can be a serious problem that could be indicative of changes in the bone or muscle structure of the face and jaw. There are a few things that can cause trouble with chewing no no matter what the problem is determined to be, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
What causes pain when chewing?
Grinding and clenching is a common cause of pain in the jaw but your dentist can make a night guard for you to sleep in which will greatly decrease your pain and give you more comfort when you sleep. Another common culprit of pain while chewing is osteoarthritis of rheumatoid arthritis. Your jaw is a joint and just like your hips knees and elbows, joint disease can affect your jaw and cause pain when eating.
A few other things that can cause pain when chewing include dental issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and even dry mouth. And of course, problems in the temporomandibular joint can make it difficult to chew. Your dentist can help determine the best path of treatment to put you in a comfortable state, which may include an oral cancer screening as oral cancer development can also be a cause of pain with chewing.
Identifying the Cause of Pain When Chewing
If you are experiencing pain when chewing, you may have other symptoms that can help identify the cause of your pain. An earache can reach down and cause pain in the jaw and face as can a sinus infection. If you suffer from headaches along with your jaw pain, the culprit may be bruxism or TMJ disorders.
Tooth sensitivity or an unpleasant taste in your mouth and bad breath can indicate periodontist disease or other dental conditions.
When to Call a Doctor
Jaw pain can often be resolved with a simple visit to your dentist but if you are having difficulty chewing and/or swallowing, it is crucial that you visit your doctor as soon as possible. To determine if your pain is dental related, your dentist will evaluate your teeth and bite to determine if you would benefit from a night guard or other oral device to ease your jaw pain. Your dentist can help you resolve your problem if it is Dental related but if it is not, your general practitioner can help determine any serious underlying causes.
Your doctor will use x-rays and an evaluation of your gastrointestinal system to help identify what may be causing the problem. If it is determined that your problem is due to a muscular or other structural problem, your doctor may refer you to a speech pathologist or occupational therapist for treatment.
While you were in treatment, you may consider sticking to a diet of soft foods and protein shakes to keep from overworking your jaw that is already in pain to prevent added stress.