Injury & Trauma

Injuries & trauma to the jaw can cause TMJ

header-images-injury-traumaAs much as we try and take care of ourselves, it is inevitable that at some point or other an accident happens and an injury occurs. The neck, face, back and shoulders are some of the most common places we hurt and also some of the most fragile and important parts of our body.

When any part of your body is injured, the effects can spread to other areas and cause pain and discomfort for years to come. For example, a back injury can cause knee pain because the nerves that provide feeling for the knee come from the lower back. In can also spread to your shoulders, neck and lead to difficulties due to TMJ injury trauma.

TMJ is a term for the symptoms that occur when the joints of your jaw are not working properly with the muscles in your mouth. When this happens, the muscles in your mouth begin to deteriorate and stop working. These conditions cause the temporomandibular joint to begin to deteriorate.

TMJ causes and problems

If you are beginning to have difficulties with the functioning of your mouth or jaw, for no obvious reason, it could be because you have injured another part of your body, which has caused trauma to your neck and face, or because of a chipped or lost tooth. Losing a tooth is a common reason for developing TMJ.

When you lose a part of your tooth, or the whole tooth, it changes the way pressure is distributed throughout your mouth and jaw, and this will affect your ability to use your mouth and the way you look. The loss of a tooth will also mean that you will begin to lose bone mass in that particular spot of your jaw.

This change in the structure of your jaw and mouth will eventually change the shape of your face. The empty spaces in your teeth and jaw bone means less support for your face, which in turn causes premature wrinkles. You will begin to see lines around your mouth and deep hollows on the sides of your nose. Your cheeks will begin to sink in making you seem years older than you really are.

An injury to the jaw can also cause a condition referred to as “bad bite”. This means your upper and lower jawbones are no longer aligned. This can lead to some unpleasant conditions such as grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw repeatedly and facial pain that can cause further damage and a lot of discomfort in your mouth.

How to determine if what you are experiencing are TMJ symptoms?

page-images-injury-traumaHere is a look at symptoms that are associated with TMJ. You could be experiencing just one or all of them.

  • Popping or clicking jaw
  • Unable to open your mouth wide
  • Locking jaw and a tight jaw
  • Unable to clench your teeth together
  • Pain when you chew and difficulty swallowing
  • Grinding and clenching your teeth
  • Chronic headaches that reoccur
  • Ear problems such as congestion, ringing and earaches
  • Painful cheek muscles, tongue and gums
  • Pain behind your eyes
  • A tender scalp


The importance of treating TMJ is not only cosmetic, it can have a mild to severe consequence on your health and quality of life. Things that you took for granted such as talking and being able to eat your favorite foods become more and more difficult.

If you have been through a traumatic event and are starting to feel discomfort in your neck, face or jaw and want to find out the reason and prevent further trauma, call Dr. Ben Polan, a dentist in Beverly, to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition. This way, you can begin the treatment you may need from an experienced TMJ dentist and feel confident you are on the road to recovery.