Any pain in your mouth can be an unpleasant experience, but sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish between TMJ pain and a regular toothache to find the correct cure for what ails you. Both types of pain originate in the same area of your body, and they have a lot of similarities. However, there are some key differences. Here’s what you need to know.

Cavity Versus TMJ Pain

With TMJ pain, you’re usually going to feel pain in your jaw. In contrast, tooth pain comes from a specific tooth. That said, in some cases, pain in both of these situations can radiate outward, and it can be hard to tell where the pain is originating. In particular, if you have an infected tooth you may feel throbbing that extends toward your jaw joint. To tell the difference between TMJ pain and pain from a cavity, you may need to look for other symptoms.

Signs of TMJ

If you have TMJ disorder, you’re likely to experience several other symptoms besides the TMJ pain. That can include headaches, earaches, neck pain, and even backaches. You may notice pain when you try to use your jaw joint to eat, yawn, cough, or sneeze, and you may find that your jaw starts locking in some situations.

Signs of a Cavity

If you have a cavity, you may also experience pain when you eat, but the pain will be felt in your tooth not just in your jaw area. Additionally, with a toothache, you may see pus around that tooth, your gums may be swollen or irritated, and your neck glands may be swollen. You may also have a bad taste in your mouth or rotten odors coming from your infected tooth. These symptoms are generally unique to cavities.

There are some natural remedies for relieving cavity pain, including gargling with salt water and applying clove oil to the affected areas, but these will not help alleviate TMJ pain. If you use one of these remedies and get relief, that is another sign that you have a cavity and not TMJ disorder.

Alleviating TMJ Pain

Although TMJ pain and cavity pain are caused by different health issues, you can alleviate your pain in similar ways. In both cases, try to give your mouth a break by minimizing eating. Keep hot and cold foods as well as sugary foods away from your cavity. To alleviate TMJ pain, go a step forward and focus on soft foods so that you don’t have to put as much effort into chewing. With both situations, placing a cold compress or an ice pack on the side of your face that is in pain can help. Over-the-counter painkillers can also help.

If these treatments don’t reduce the pain of TMJ disorder, you may want to see an oral surgeon. They can offer relief options that take into account the severity of your TMJ pain. While surgery may be needed in only the most extreme cases, Botox injections may be the solution.

Botox relieves jaw tension by making muscles unable to engage in the powerful, often the unconscious movement of the jaw that produces headaches and pain. When you opt for Botox injections for TMJ treatment the injections help relax the muscles around that joint. The injections reduce jaw tension, help you stop grinding your teeth, and virtually eliminate headaches related to TMJ disorder. The injection process is less invasive and more affordable than surgery. It’s also so fast and easy you can do it on your lunch hour.

Get Help for TMJ Disorder

A general dentist can help you with cavities by offering a filling, but if you have extensive cavities or even TMJ disorder, an oral surgeon has the specialized practice, training and knowledge to provide the best treatment to help you.

If you believe you have TMJ disorder and want relief, contact us by clicking the button below and choosing your nearest GAOFS office.