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Face and Jaw Surgery

Jaw pain

12/05/2006

Question:

I have a question regarding Jaw Pain. My Dad is a healthy active 60 year old man. He jogs 3-5 miles still to this day. He has never smoked nor is he a drinker. He takes his bran faithfully every morning...I hope you get the picture. He had hernia surgery about 3 months ago and all went well. Here`s the question, When he exercises (morning) he has been having jaw pain. This only happens when he exercises (jogs). He had an EKG and everything checked out, everything was normal. He had a dentist appt today to see if there were signs of teeth grinding. I don`t know how that went yet, and he has an appt Monday to do the treadmill.

I`m concerned about our family history. There have been heart issues with uncles and even his Dad, Who died before I was born from a black widow bite that caused him to have a heart attack. His father was also a drinker which is why my Dad isn`t. I know there are many test and especially x-rays that can only rule out so much. i also know that x-rays can miss many things as well.

Before I just blab my life story I just want to know if there are things to ask or do to be able to determine what is going on.

Thank-you for your time,

Answer:

It is not uncommon for some individuals to clench their teeth when they exercise.  This is very different from grinding, since one would not see wear facets or "worn out" surfaces on the teeth. 

It seems to me that since the "jaw pain" only occurs after working out, that this may be a good explanation for what is happening.  I would tell your father to stop by any sports equipment store and buy a soft mouth guard (the ones that you put in hot water and mold to your teeth tend to be a little better for this purpose) and tell him to wear it during his exercise routine. He may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

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Response by:

Guillermo  E Chacon, DDS Guillermo E Chacon, DDS
Formerly:
Associate Professor of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University