A woman wondering, "What is cocaine jaw?"

What Is Cocaine Jaw?

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that puts severe stress on all areas of your body and can cause a condition called coke jaw. But what is cocaine jaw? At Promises, we offer drug addiction treatment services to help you start your journey to sobriety. Learn more about what we offer by calling 844.875.5609

What Is Cocaine Jaw?

Coke jaw is a term that describes a constellation of symptoms, including distinctive jaw movements, stemming from long-term cocaine use. 

Snorting cocaine affects the blood vessels in the nose and the mouth, causing them to constrict painfully. Over time, the jaw pain and cocaine’s stimulation of your nervous system leads you to move your jaw from side to side or grind your teeth uncontrollably. 

Additionally, the constricted blood vessels you develop from snorting cocaine don’t allow oxygen and nutrients to flow to your jaw in the quantities it needs. In extreme cases, cocaine jaw causes bone deterioration, damage to the palate, and significant dental erosion. 

Complications of Coke Jaw

Cocaine jaw can cause serious long-term complications, including:

  • Bruxism 
  • Gum disease
  • TMD
  • Cavities
  • Palate perforation

Bruxism is the involuntary clenching and grinding of teeth, resulting in headaches, jaw pain, and severe dental conditions. Bruxism puts huge pressure on your teeth, wearing down enamel and putting your teeth at risk of developing cracks or chips. 

Cocaine use can impact your gums, as well, especially if you rub the drug on them. Cocaine is more easily absorbed through mucous membranes, so it’s common for people to use this mode of ingestion, but it can lead to inflammation of the gums. It also causes gums to recede, putting you at a higher risk of losing teeth. 

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are disorders that affect the temporomandibular joint and jaw muscles. They impact how you eat, speak, open and close your mouth, and much more. Cocaine use causes irritation and swelling in these joints, resulting in jaw stiffness, difficulties opening or closing your mouth, and even trouble speaking. 

Cavities are another issue you may face if you have coke jaw. Cocaine use causes dry mouth as well as enamel deterioration, both of which make it easier for bacteria to thrive in your mouth and cause cavities. 

After prolonged and excessive cocaine use, oral palate perforation can also be a concern. This is the formation of a hole in the roof of your mouth — in the tissue that makes up your soft palate. A palate perforation makes eating and even swallowing difficult, and it can give you chronic sinus and nasal infections. In some instances, you can also experience nasal regurgitation, which is when food or fluids enter the nasal cavity.

Treating Coke Jaw

Treating coke jaw requires more than getting dental care. It means getting sober. 

Cocaine use disorders put your life at risk and lead to all manner of health complications, so turning to a treatment program that can help you understand why the problem occurred in the first place and what might be standing in your way of recovery is essential. 

For some people, this means entering an inpatient treatment program that allows them to step away from their daily stresses to focus wholly on getting healthy. Others can benefit better from outpatient services that offer the chance to keep up with work or family responsibilities. 

Rely on Promises for Drug Addiction Treatment

If you want to break free from the hold that cocaine use has on you, you can turn to us at Promises. With a wide variety of treatment options, you can find the right program to help you. Contact Promises today at 844.875.5609 to speak with our admissions team.

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