A couple of days ago we received a call from a distressed patient. He was experiencing constant pain just in front of his left ear, was unable to close his jaw without pain. He said it started when he took a blow to the chin while playing hockey the day before and was not getting any better. I immediately knew what was wrong and could not help but feel badly for him, because I knew this would be an injury that would have long term effects. The blow to the chin caused damage to the ligaments in his temporomandibular joint (TMJ), a very classic problem that occurs when an unbraced lower jaw is subjected to trauma. It is for this reason that custom athletic mouth guards are recommended for sports where contact to the lower jaw can be expected (or unexpected). Treating TMJ disorders and facial pain is one of the specialties of our practice, so we will be able to help him. But preventing injury is always preferable to treating it. For more details on mouth guards, please click here to read our original blog post on this subject.
Have you experienced an injury like this, or had unexplained facial pain or headaches? You are likely not alone. Please leave a comment here or on our Facebook page.