If you are experiencing severe pain in your jaw, you may have a temporomandibular joint fracture. This is a relatively rare injury, but understanding what it is and how it happens can help you get the treatment you need on time.
What is a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) fracture?
A temporomandibular joint fracture is a break in one or both of the bones that make up your jaw. The most common cause of this type of injury is severe trauma, such as a car accident or a fall. However, it can also occur due to overuse injuries, such as from clenching your teeth or grinding them at night.
What are the symptoms of a TMJ fracture?
The most common symptom of a TMJ fracture is severe pain in your jaw. You may also notice that your jaw feels stiff or locked, and you may have trouble opening your mouth. If the fracture is severe, you may also see bruising or swelling around your jaw. Lastly, you may hear a clicking or popping sound when you move your jaw.
How is a TMJ fracture treated?
The treatment for a TMJ fracture will depend on the severity of the injury. For mild fractures, your doctor may recommend ice and pain medication to help reduce swelling and pain. They may also suggest that you eat soft foods for a few weeks while your jaw heals.
For more severe injuries, you may need to have surgery to repair the fracture. In some cases, you may also need to wear a splint or brace to keep your jaw in place while it heals.
If you think you may have a TMJ fracture, it’s important to see a doctor right away. These injuries can be very serious, and prompt treatment is essential for a full recovery.