My Blog

Posts for tag: jaw pain

By Frank R. Skiba, DDS
May 11, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain   tmj  

Jaw issues like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can quickly affect your quality of life by making eating, speaking, chewing, and tmjswallowing more difficult. But what is TMJ disorder? How can doctors treat this issue? Understanding this condition is key to finding the answers to these questions and, in turn, the best treatments for you. Find out more with Dr. Frank Skiba in Walnut Creek, CA.

What is TMJ disorder? 
You have two temporomandibular joints which lie on either side of your jaw. These joints act as a hinge which controls the jaw’s opening and closing, back and forth, and side to side movements. When these joints become irritated or inflamed, TMJ disorder occurs. While the cause of TMJ disorder is often unknown, factors like stress, bruxism (teeth grinding), and jaw clenching are often linked to the disorder. Most cases of TMJ disorder are temporary, though some can become chronic.

Do I have TMJ disorder? 
While jaw pain and discomfort is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder, other less obvious symptoms can also point to the condition, including:

  • popping or clicking sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • facial pain
  • difficulty chewing
  • aching pain around the ear
  • pain in one or both temporomandibular joints
  • locking of the jaw in the open position

Most cases of TMJ disorder respond to home treatments. However, many cases require the help of your dentist.

TMJ Disorder Treatments in Walnut Creek, CA 
If your TMJ disorder symptoms become persistent, begin affecting your daily life, or cause your mouth to lock in the open position, it may be time to speak with your dentist about treatments. Your dentist may suggest prescription or over-the-counter oral medications to help with pain and inflammation. Muscle relaxants can also help the joint function properly. Oral splints and physical therapy exercises and stretches may also benefit TMJ disorder sufferers. In cases of stress causing the condition, counseling or therapy to help lower the instances of stressful situations in your life can decrease jaw clenching and potentially cure the problem. In severe cases, your dentist may recommend injection therapy or open joint surgery.

For more information on TMJ disorder, please contact Dr. Frank Skiba in Walnut Creek, CA. Call 925-934-8149 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Skiba today!

By Frank R. Skiba, DDS
March 01, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain  
PersistentJawPainAfteranInjuryNeedsImmediateAttention

Accidents happen. And if an accident causes an injury to your jaws or surrounding facial area, it could result in serious damage. Without prompt treatment, that damage could be permanent.

You’ll usually know, of course, if something is wrong from the extreme pain near or around a jaw joint that won’t subside. If you have such symptoms, we need to see you as soon as possible to specifically diagnose the injury, which will in turn determine how we’ll treat it.

This is important because there are a number of injury possibilities behind the pain. It could mean you’ve loosened or displaced one or more teeth. The joint and its connective muscle may also have been bruised resulting in swelling within the joint space or a dislocation of the condyle (the bone ball at the end of the jaw), either of which can be extremely painful.

These injuries also cause muscle spasms, the body’s response for keeping the jaw from moving and incurring more damage (a natural splint, if you will). After examining to see that everything is functioning normally, we can usually treat it with mild to moderate anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and pain and muscle relaxers to ease the spasms. We may also need to gently manipulate and ease a dislocated jaw into its proper position.

In the worst case, though, you may actually have fractured the jaw bone. The most common break is known as a sub-condylar fracture that occurs just below the head of the joint with pain and discomfort usually more severe than what’s experienced from tissue bruising or dislocation. As with other fractures, we’ll need to reposition the broken bone and immobilize it until it’s healed. This can be done by temporarily joining the upper and lower teeth together for several weeks to keep the jaw from moving, or with a surgical procedure for more severe breaks that stabilizes the jawbone independently.

It’s important with any persistent jaw or mouth pain after an accident that you see us as soon as possible — you may have an injury that needs immediate attention for proper healing. At the very least, we can help alleviate the pain and discomfort until you’re back to normal.

If you would like more information on treating jaw injuries, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Jaw Pain — What’s the Cause?