We’re Raising Awareness about Postoperative Jaw and Muscle Pain

On the surface, it may not seem like that big of a deal. A little soreness in the jaw after a dental procedure is common, and most cases will resolve on their own. But for a percentage of patients, jaw pain won’t resolve normally. If not addressed within the first 30 days, injury to jaw joints and muscles have a greater than 50% chance of progressing to chronic or intractable pain. These patients are at a higher risk of developing a chronic temporomandibular disorder.1

Orofacial pain expert, Bradley Eli, DMD, MS, regularly sees patients with chronic temporomandibular disorders in his practice. From initial symptoms of jaw soreness and limited range of motion, symptoms can increase, expanding in scope-of-pain to include headaches, earaches, neck pain, and jaw dysfunction, such as clicking and locking.

Facts About Postoperative Jaw and Muscle Pain

And here’s an astounding fact:  Most people with jaw pain that persists for at least one month, continue to report pain 5-years later. Ouch! That is a lot of pain and suffering.

Here’s another astounding fact:  Chronic pain conditions, including TMD, constitute the primary reason for seeking healthcare, the most common reason for disability and opioid addiction, and the highest driver of health care costs.

We now know that long-term pain management becomes increasingly difficult if the pain persists. Patients with chronic jaw pain often have clinically significant personal suffering, including disability, addiction to opioids, work loss and disability, high health care costs, and avoidance of routine dental care, resulting in the deterioration of oral health.

But here’s the good news:  If promptly diagnosed and treated within 30 days, an estimated 90% of cases can be improved in 4 weeks – cutting off the progression to chronic pain and its associated personal and public costs.

Per Dr. Eli, “If we can stop an acute jaw sprain or strain from progressing to chronic TMD, why wouldn’t we? If we can prevent pain and suffering for our patients, why wouldn’t we? And if it also reduces overall medical costs and opioid addiction, why wouldn’t we? We should and we can.”

By raising awareness about the importance of diagnosing and treating postoperative jaw and muscle pain among the dental profession, and about the possible progression to chronic pain, we believe the number of cases that progress to chronic TMD can be reduced, thereby reducing the pain and suffering of patients, while also helping to lower rates of opioid addiction and lower health care costs.

Here’s what we’re doing as a company to raise awareness about Postoperative Jaw and Muscle Pain:

  • Developed the JAMSS Protocol

We’ve developed a diagnostic protocol, called the JAMSS Protocol, to help dentists have a clear protocol for diagnosis and treatment of postoperative jaw and muscle pain and a guide to risk assessment for their patients. JAMSS is an acronym for Jaw and Muscle sprain/strain. The JAMSS Protocol maybe downloaded for free from the company’s website: https://www.quicksplint.com/downloads/

  • Developed Dental Continuing Education for Postoperative Jaw and Muscle Pain

In conjunction with dental leaders and colleagues, we produced a continuing education course, “Postoperative Jaw and Muscle Pain: A guide to risk assessment, prevention, and treatment,” by Lee Ann Brady, DMD; James Fricton, DDS, MS; and Brad Eli, DMD, MS. This is an online continuing education course which was published in the April 2017 issue of Inside Dentistry magazine, and is available to all dental professionals online via Inside Dentistry Continuing Dental Education website for a cost of $16 (2 CE units). Online CE: https://id.cdeworld.com/courses/5065-Postoperative_Jaw_and_Muscle_Pain

  • Providing Free Dental Continuing Education in Southern California in May & June

We are hosting a one-hour accredited dental continuing education course in Southern California throughout the months of May and June. Brad Eli, DMD, MS, will present, “Treating Acute Jaw Pain in Your Practice.”

  • Making Clinical Information Kits available to Dentists

We have developed Clinical Information Kits for dentists which includes clinical information about acute jaw pain, the JAMSS Protocol, jaw exercises, patient self-care measures, and more. Call Orofacial Therapeutics at 800-760-0526 for more information.

  • Offering Clinical Information to Dental Study Clubs

We have developed information kits for Dental Study Clubs which includes clinical information on PowerPoint slides, images, case studies, samples of QuickSplint, and more. Contact Orofacial Therapeutics with details about the name, location and date of your study club to request a dental study club kit.

Post-operative jaw and muscle pain may not seem like that big of a deal – especially in relation to the dental procedure being performed. It’s a topic that seems simple and minor, but is actually complex, and possibly life-changing, for some patients. Research shows a progression to chronic TMD in a percentage of cases of post-operative jaw and muscle pain. Vigilant dental professionals can, and should, intervene early and conservatively to help guard against such a pain progression utilizing new information and tools to aid dentists in risk assessment, prevention, and treatment.

Take advantage of our free dental continuing education courses in May & June in Southern California, or take an online course for $16. Earn 1 – 2 CE’s. Click on the links above for more details and to register.



1 Fricton, James et al. Preventing chronic pain after acute jaw sprain or strain. The Journal of the American Dental Association, Volume 147 issue 12, 979-986.


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