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FAQ:  Jaw Pain

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TMJ disorder / disc displacement: IS there any hope for my TMJ pain. My jaw would dislocate to where I had to rub on the outside of me cheek hard to get it to pop back in. One doctor determined it was muscular and treated with a splint that immediatley made my jaw dislocate all the time especially at night. So an MRI was scheduled where it was discovered that both discs were being misplaced when I opened.

I had surgey on both jaws 4 years ago. However they have still never been right. Immediately after surgery I was limited to how far I could open my mounth, despite therapy with a machine. I cannot move my jaws back and forth and cannot bring my bottom jaw forward to meet up with my top front teeth (I have always had an overbite).

About a week or two after surgery I got a cortizone shot in one of my jaw joints because it was so painful nothing could even touch it. About 2 weeks later after the shot (because of pain) I had the Jaw flushed. Nothing has helped. I put up with the pain that seemed to lessen until now.

The popping and pain has returned to my right jaw and occasionally it will pop out of place. It is affecting my eating, talking, sleeping and causing headaches and I work full time so this is not easy. It will sometimes pop just from me swallowing (without my teeth touching each other). I am getting very concerned but do not want another surgery so I keep putting off getting it re-looked at. Is there anything I can do or will I have to just live with it? ...Visitor from VA

If the original problem was a dislocation than this would mean that the jaw opens too wide and moves past the articular eminence. The muscles when they get tight may make the sound greater but the jaw would still be able to move far.

If after the surgery you can still move the jaw past the articular eminence then this is good. The pain in the joint is coming from the inflammation that the surgery caused.

If the noise is coming from the disc then it may be moving over the condyle. The disc is slipping in and out of place, causing the noise that you hear.

If you are functioning then this is good. Try to stay with conservative treatment and conventional medications. A chronic pain doctor will be a good person for you to help manage the condition.

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