Exploring the Connection Between Oral and Maxillofacial Pain and Stress
Oral and Maxillofacial Pain and Stress

Exploring the Connection Between Oral and Maxillofacial Pain and Stress

Addressing oral and maxillofacial pain requires medical interventions as well as stress reduction. The root cause of your pain may lie in the deterioration of a single tooth. It could stem from temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMD and TMJ. Stress is likely to play a role regardless of the physical reason. Find holistic treatment of stress-linked oral pain at Smile Angels of Beverly Hills.

How Stress Impacts Oral Health

Two main factors exist behind stress leading to an increase in oral and maxillofacial pain. One is physiological, the other is psychological. This means that one cause relates to the body creating conditions that exacerbate discomfort. The other cause relates to how you perceive pain and how well you can cope with it.

Physiological Link Between Stress and Pain

Your body triggers many responses with the experience of stress. The adrenal glands, located atop the kidneys, release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. With these hormones activated, you may experience tightness and soreness in your face, neck, and shoulder muscles. This can cause or worsen the pain symptoms linked to orofacial pain conditions. Additionally, researchers link stress to increased inflammation. This contributes to discomfort and pain.

Psychological Association Between Stress and Pain

When you experience stress, sometimes it influences your perception of pain and your ability to cope with it. This is due to potentially heightened sensitivity to pain, time spent in negative emotional states, and a focus on the symptoms of pain that increases. With these psychological factors, orofacial pain conditions often worsen or contribute to chronic pain development.

Prevalence of Oral and Maxillofacial Pain

Orofacial pain, which encompasses oral and maxillofacial pain, impacts between 17% to 26% of the general population. Of that number, 7% to 11% of people endure chronic orofacial pain. Limited to adults, international studies indicate 10% experiencing orofacial problems, with women impacted twice as often as men on average. Oral diseases impact roughly 3.5 billion people around the globe, making untreated dental care among the top common non-communicable diseases.

Understanding Oral and Maxillofacial Pain

Oral and maxillofacial pain refers to experiencing negative physical sensations. These impact the bones, muscles, or joints of your mouth and face. The discomfort may manifest as dull or sharp in areas ranging from around the eyes to the jaw. The triggers of pain range from chewing, swallowing, and speaking.

Common Causes

Orofacial pain has many common causes. These include missing teeth, an uneven bite, pain due to TMJ, surgery complications, migraines, facial or jaw injuries, or bruxism. Bruxism refers to clenching or grinding the teeth. Muscle spasms and nerve problems may also be the culprit.

Symptoms of Oral and Maxillofacial Issues

The symptoms of orofacial problems often include bilateral complaints. These impact both sides of the face. Descriptive words for the pain include burning, dry, swollen, granular, or annoying. Involved locations range from the tongue to the palate or even the lips.

Why Identification of Pain’s Root Causes is Essential

Sometimes when you experience pain, your main focus is its relief. Relief alone will not end the problem, however. Unless you want to merely manage pain as your condition worsens, you need to discover its root cause. Addressing the cause is the only way to truly solve the problem of your pain.

Connection Between Stress and Pain

As discussed, stress and pain have a close relationship. Stress can both worsen and outright cause pain, while pain can increase stress. Your oral health professionals must intervene to sever this vicious cycle by finding and treating the pain’s cause.

How Stress Impacts Oral Health

Studies show that psychological and psychosocial disorders play an important part in oral health. Anxiety is a condition frequently cooccurring with such disorders as TMJ and TMD. Stress can also lead to poor oral health habits, as can depression.


Bruxism, or grinding of the teeth, is a common source of orofacial pain. People describing themselves as stressed prove to have a 97% increased chance of presenting bruxism. The most common emotional states linked to bruxism are frustration, pain, and anger.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Stressed people often find themselves clenching their jaws or grinding their teeth. This strains jaw joints and muscles, contributing to the symptoms of TMJ and TMD. Stress and the events which cause it are highly likely to contribute to these disorders.

Periodontal Disease

Your stressed body experiences a greater likelihood of inflammation as well as greater difficulty in fighting infection. Stress also often leads to poor oral health habits that can lead to gum disease. These habits include smoking, a diet not sufficiently nutritious, and infrequent or improper cleaning of the teeth and gums. Thus, stress is a major risk factor for periodontal disease and can even negatively affect your periodontal tissues.

How Stress-Related Behaviors Can Exacerbate Oral Health Deficiencies

Certain behaviors become more likely when you experience stress. Smoking, making poor choices in meals and snacks, and neglecting your teeth cleaning needs all fall under this behavioral category. For example, smokers have a higher risk for developing oral cancer, tooth loss, gum problems, and root decay. Stress-linked smoking, like the other behaviors, worsens oral health problems.

Techniques and Strategies for Coping and Stress Management

Managing and coping with stress are essential to a healthy mouth, body, and mind. Experts advise that you practice self-care. This involves tending your physical needs, your mental needs, and giving yourself time to relax and unwind. Investigate mind-body techniques like mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxation. Connect with family, friends, or the community. Take breaks from those topics that cause you distress. Try deep breathing exercises, or simply exercise at a comfortable level. Keep a journal. Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion with meditation.

Holistically Approaching Stress Reduction

Holistically addressing stress means that you incorporate mental, physical, and social elements. Following those strategies and techniques for dealing with stress should lead to its reduction over time. Be consistent and be sure to address all areas of your life to minimize the impacts of stress on your health. The mind and body are not separate entities, but parts of the whole that comprise you. Both need to be healthy and free of stress.

Holistic Therapies and Practices Offered by Smile Angels of Beverly Hills

The practice of Smile Angels of Beverly Hills is conscientious about treating you as a whole. Treatment may include medications, surgeries such as rhizotomies, epic diode laser treatments, and exercise regimens.

The Role of Dental Care in Stress Management

Routine dental care is vital to manage the oral pain that stress causes you. Smile Angels of Beverly Hills is here to treat your pain and its causes with a variety of cutting-edge treatments. These include the use of BIOLASE Epic Diode Lasers and research-approved medications. Do not delay and endure unnecessary pain. Contact Smile Angels of Beverly Hills as soon as problems present themselves.

Your body responds to stress in ways that can contribute to or cause oral pain. Your mind can cause or exacerbate oral and maxillofacial discomfort as well. Stress management should be a consistent element of your oral health care to avoid preventable conditions which create pain and add to overall stress.

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