What is Oral Pain?
Oral Pain is typically defined as a pain in the mouth or the oral area.
In the medical jargon, the term ‘oral pain’ refers to a cluster of clinical problems resulting in pain, associated to one or more of the below:
Teeth, face or jaw
Cluster headaches or migraines
Muscle spasms in the head, neck and jaw
Anxiety or depression
Characteristics of Oral Pain
It helps to understand the basic characteristics of oral pain in order to identify and cure the condition. Here we list a few of the main amongst them:
Location: Localized, diffused or radiating
Character: Sharp, dull, aching, throbbing, shooting, spasms
Severity: Less or acute
Duration: Transient or long-lasting
Time of pain occurrence: On lying down/walking
Types of Oral Pain
The types of oral pain are generally studied in the context of the location of the pain. Here we present a bird’s eye view of the main causes of oral pain.
- Damaged or chipped tooth
Prior tooth problemJaw-related
Wisdom tooth extraction
Burning mouth (Symptoms)
Food allergyOthers – Pain can also be caused due to:
Lesions or sores
Oral thrush (candida/yeast)
Canker sores .i.e. jaw pain while speaking
Botulism food poisoning
Sometimes, pain around the teeth and jaws can also be a symptom of diseases of the heart (including angina, heart attack), ears (internal or external infections) or sinuses (sinusitis).
Oral Pain – Treatment Modalities
The most important stage when devising a treatment plan for oral pain is identifying the cause and location of the pain. Factors that need to be considered at this stage include:
tooth needs general treatment
antibiotics need to be prescribed for infection
tylenol/motrin need to be prescribed for pain
antidepressants/anticonvulsants need to be prescribed for chronic pain
For general jaw-related problems, the treatments prescribed include analgesics, heat or cold treatment, muscle relaxants, occlusal guard and jaw exercises.
For oral pain related to mucosal issues, the medications include topical steroids (ointments, rinses), tetracycline rinses and general mouthwash.
A study conducted by the researchers at the University of Florida reveals that the rural residents are nearly twice as likely as their urban counterparts to ignore problems related to oral pain. They take note only when the pain becomes intolerable and calls for immediate medical attention, the study states.