Causes And Effects Of Coke Jaw

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Abusing cocaine in the long-term can lead to an uncomfortable condition known as coke jaw. As part of coke mouth, coke jaw can refer to a variety of effects such as jaw pain, teeth grinding, and compulsive and constant jaw movements.

Coke Jaw

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that causes people to feel energetic and euphoric. It also can cause a wide range of negative short-term and long-term effects.

One such long-term physical effect of cocaine abuse is the development of a condition known as coke jaw, which can occur whether a person is using cocaine by snorting, smoking, or injecting.

Coke jaw is a term for uncontrollable jaw movements caused by heavy cocaine use, which can include jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and moving the jaw back and forth.

What Causes Coke Jaw?

Coke jaw is a condition that only occurs after long-term cocaine abuse. The jaw movements occur because coke is a stimulant that causes many of the body’s processes to speed up.

Other short-term and long-term cocaine side effects can include:

  • constricted blood vessels
  • runny nose
  • nose bleeds
  • weight loss
  • mood swings
  • high blood pressure
  • fast heart rate

Cocaine is highly addictive, and long-term abuse of it can also result in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and cravings when a person stops using cocaine.

How Cocaine Addiction Affects The Jaw

The effects of cocaine are numerous and can affect a person all over their body and within their brain.

Some of the more noticeable and painful effects of cocaine are those which affect a person’s mouth and teeth.

Jaw Pain

Heavy cocaine abuse can result in severe jaw pain that can also affect the facial muscles and result in cocaine-induced headaches.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding can also be a major part of the uncontrollable jaw movements that are associated with coke jaw. A person may also clench their jaw tightly.

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are a group of disorders that affect a person’s jaw and chewing muscles. These disorders can result in headaches, earaches, and dizziness.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Coke Mouth?

Coke jaw is just one component of a larger condition called coke mouth, which presents with additional symptoms involving oral health.

Dry Mouth

One of the signs of cocaine use is decreased saliva production and dry mouth. This can lead to cavities and gum disease, as well as outward symptoms like cracked lips and mouth sores.

Dry mouth is particularly common with crack cocaine use, which is why smoking crack is often associated with cracked lips and sores.

Perforation Of The Oral Palate

Heavy cocaine use can cause holes to form in the roof of a person’s mouth, known as perforations of their oral palate.

Not only is this condition painful, but it can also make eating, talking, and swallowing difficult for the person who has it.

Dental Erosion

Cocaine is naturally acidic and many of the cutting agents that are frequently found in cocaine are also acidic.

This acid will eat away at teeth over time, causing pain, sensitivity, and tooth decay and eventually leading to complete tooth loss.

Gum Disease (Periodontitis)

Cocaine abuse can also result in periodontitis, especially when a person uses cocaine by eating it or rubbing it directly on their gums.

Periodontitis is a gum infection that causes the gum line to recede and causes tooth death and loss if left untreated.

How To Treat Symptoms Of Coke Jaw

The best thing that a person can do to treat their symptoms of coke jaw is to immediately and completely stop using cocaine.

From there, a person may want to visit their dentist to diagnose and address any damage or oral health issues that have arisen from cocaine use, as well as to discuss treatment options.

Will Damage To The Mouth Caused By Cocaine Be Permanent?

While it is possible to treat many of the symptoms and side effects caused to the mouth by cocaine, some types of damage are more permanent.

In most cases, the damage done by cocaine abuse can be treated and repaired, but not completely fixed or reversed.

For instance, cavities can be filled and broken teeth can be replaced. There is also a surgery available to correct perforation of the oral palate.

Treatment Programs For Cocaine Addiction

Substance use treatment programs vary in the types of treatments that they offer, and it’s important to choose a program that addresses mental health along with addiction.

Treatment options for cocaine addiction can include:

  • medical detox
  • inpatient treatment
  • outpatient treatment
  • individual, group, and family therapy
  • medication management
  • sober and transitional living
  • relapse prevention services
  • peer support groups

Find A Substance Abuse Treatment Center

Living with a substance or drug use disorder can be scary, regardless of whether it is you or one of your loved ones who is living with drug addiction.

If you are ready to take the first steps toward long-term recovery, please consider giving our helpline a call.


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