There are many types of jaw injuries that you can have – some that will heal on their own, but some that may need surgical intervention. Here are a few ways you can try and tell the difference (if you’re not sure, or in a lot of pain, see a doctor immediately).
Dislocated Jaw: A dislocated jaw is distinguishable because your jaw may feel like it’s not properly aligned. If it’s severe enough, there is no way you can miss it, however even a slight misalignment is important enough to fix. Also, if you have a hard time eating, chewing, or even speaking, you should see a doctor.
Broken Jaw: It’s almost impossible to have a broken jaw unless there was a severe impact on your face due to an accident, trauma, or injury. If you notice bruising or swelling that doesn’t get better after the initial impact, you may need to get an x-ray.
Tetanus: Tetanus is a disease that may cause symptoms that make your jaws lock together. The jaws locking aren’t the most dangerous part of tetanus and it must be treated immediately. If you haven’t gotten your tetanus shot and it doesn’t seem like simply lockjaw – go to the ER and get treatment as soon as you can.
TMJ: You may feel swollen and achy along your jaw line. If it’s bad enough, you can also get headaches. Try rubbing your jaws in a circular motion and see if it feels better. If there is no sharp or shooting pain, make an appointment with your dentist to help find a treatment for TMJ.
Fractured Jaw: A fracture is the same as a break. Some people have the misconception that a small, thin line, means it’s a fracture and not a break – but that is not the case. Any break can be serious, no matter the age.
If you think you or your family member might have a jaw injury, always err on the side of caution and get it checked out sooner rather than later. If you have any questions, call Candlewood Dental Care in New Fairfield, CT. Dr. Lorraine Burio has been treating and educating patients for over twenty-five years. Our office serves the New Fairfield, New Milford, Danbury, and Sherman areas of CT and Pawling, Patterson and Putnam Lake of New York. You can call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.