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MESSAGES TO
JY from Singapore asked a question

Why does my jaw hurt when I move it or chew on food?

I have been having jaw locked like symptoms for the past one week. It's painful to move sideways and sometimes there is a clicking sound to it. It is hard to open the mouth and to chew on food. It feels like a sharp pain, and worsens during morning and night time.

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (3)
Dr Jerry Lim
Dentist
Singapore
(1 Ratings)
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Dr Jerry Lim
Dentist
Singapore
(1 Ratings)
Answered on Sat Mar 24 2018 06:41:48 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Hello JY,

Thank you for your question. Is this the first time you are having this pain? Is the pain associated with any muscular pain like headaches or neck pain?
 
A recent event like a painful locked jaw and clicking joint is best treated as soon as possible, especially if it is hard to chew and function. Clicking can mean some disc displacement issue, which is a structural problem.
 
The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) could be pressing on the back of the disc (which is displaced). This area has nerve endings, thus causing pain on biting.
 
Pain worsening during morning and night time could mean other aspects are at play e.g. sleep bruxism, clenching or even tooth nerve pain. All these need to be excluded because TMJ pain and its disorders can be manifestations of many aspects of head and neck issues. 
 
Sometimes, it could be as simple as a avoidance of chewing on food that requires much chewing to digest, or even pain killers as was suggested.
 
Soft diet and hot towel massage around the joint sometimes helps. And if it was any structural pathology, then an orthotic/splint/positioner might actually be used to provide relieve to the TMJ. 
 
A thorough examination is crucial with considerations to function and pain relief. It's very tough for us to make a call without further understanding the symptoms and anatomy of your issue. 
 
I know this is of not much help, but I hope it sheds some light on why you are suffering from the pain. 
0 166 views 0 Doctors agree Sat Mar 24 2018 06:41:48 GMT+0000 (UTC)
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Dr Gan Eng Cern
Ear, Nose & Throat
Singapore
(5 Ratings)
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Dr Gan Eng Cern
Ear, Nose & Throat
Singapore
(5 Ratings)
Answered on Fri Mar 23 2018 12:26:24 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Dear JY, thank you for your question. Pain in the jaw joint that is worse during jaw movement is usually due to Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction.

We do not know what exactly causes TMJ dysfunction but they can arise from problems with the muscle, cartilage or bone of the jaw joint. 

Some risk factors for the development of TMJ dysfunction include: 

1. Trauma - An injury to the jaw e.g. from a punch to the face, sporting injuries or road traffic accidents can damage the jaw joint

2. Repetitive stress to the jaw joint - teeth grinding during sleep, frequent chewing etc

3. Arthritis - This is due to generation or inflammation of the joint

Common symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include:

1. Jaw pain

2. Clicking sound on jaw movement

3. Lock jaw

4. Stiff jaw

5. Pain in the temple area 

Treatment of TMJ dysfunction:

Most of the time, TMJ dysfunction resolves with pain relievers with anti-inflammatory properties (NSAIDS - e.g. Arcoxia, Celebrex, Naproxen, Synflex etc) and reducing stress to the jaw joint (e.g taking soft diet, avoiding gum chewing etc).

However, in severe cases, an imaging (X-ray or scan) may be required to assess the jaw joint. Some patients may also need to see a dentist to get a night guard (occlusal splint) to reduce the stress of teeth grinding on the jaw joint during sleep. 

Hope this helps, and all the best. 

0 197 views 0 Doctors agree Fri Mar 23 2018 12:26:24 GMT+0000 (UTC)
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Dr Beth Seow
Dentist
Singapore
(2 Ratings)
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Dr Beth Seow
Dentist
Singapore
(2 Ratings)
Answered on Mon Mar 26 2018 08:43:18 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Dear JY, 

The first thing I would advise you to do is to look in the mirror and see if your teeth have a very flattened appearance. Flattened teeth are indicative of teeth grinding at night which is a common cause of jaw pain or jaw locked symptoms. 

Nocturnal grinding ie teeth grinding during sleep can increase in intensity especially during stressful periods which can lead to heightened pain symptoms such as the ones you have described. 

In general, the underlying reasons for jaw pain can be split into 2 categories: 

1. Muscular and soft tissue issues 

2. Skeletal (bone) and hard (teeth) issues 

Solutions for a jaw pain can be as simple as a nightguard or something more advanced such as painkillers / botox / orthodontic treatment, in order to get to the root of the problem and get you pain free in not just the short but also long term. 

A full consultation with clinical examination and xrays would be needed to determine the reason and solution for your jaw pain. 

Hope this helps and feel free to inquire further! Have a great day ahead.

Regards, 

Dr Beth 

0 143 views 0 Doctors agree Mon Mar 26 2018 08:43:18 GMT+0000 (UTC)
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