Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I have TMJ?"
I sometimes hear a clicking sound and have pain when I'm chewing. There have been a couple of times when my mouth has been locked. 2 years ago I fell on the right side of my face and chipped a tooth. I started having pain after this incident. How can I relieve the pain when I'm eating?
This is a great question. It is very important that you make an appointment with your primary care doctor or your dentist to discuss your symptoms and have a full history and physical. TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint and TMJ disorders are very common. The pain can be caused from the muscles around the joint or from the joint itself. The symptoms you are describing sound typical of TMJ disorder but you need to make sure it is not due to root damage from your accident or something else entirely. To help alleviate symptoms of TMJ disorder there are many things you can do. The first is prevention. Do not chew gum or ice and avoid chewing "tough" foods such as meat and hard candy. The second is to ice your jaw when it is inflamed. You can also give your self a jaw massage. The third is to take anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen when the pain is bad if you do not have any contraindications. Sometimes, your dentist or orthodontist will recommend wearing a mouthguard at night if you grind your teeth or clench your jaw at night. Again, it is very important to seek medical care to get an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
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