Non TMJ/Bruxism case of sore jaw

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Posted on By Carol Bauer In Patient/Consumer Inquiries

I had orthognathic surgery (upper and lower jaws) in 2011. About a year ago, I started waking up with severe pain in one side of my jaw and having difficulty opening my mouth. This lasts for a few weeks then it goes away, then a few months later it comes back again. If I take ibuprofen before going to bed, there's no pain in morning, which makes me think that this can involve an infection. I do not clench my teeth (my upper and lower molars don't even touch) so I don't think it can be a case of bruxism.

Unfortunately, I am living abroad right now as a student and my health insurance doesn't include dental coverage. I don't want to go to an orthodontist here because I don't even speak the local language and can't afford a consultation.

I need to have an idea of the possibilities of what this can be, if it's not TMJ.

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Carol, although you say your teeth do not touch, subconscious grinding can occur either day or night so I would not rule out bruxism. the safest way to find out is to get a day/night guard appliance. Obviously the best way is to get a consultation and it does not have to be with an can start with a capable dentist. Are you a student abroad? If so many universities have health departments that you can visit. If not and expenses are a problem, there are 'self made' bite guards that you can order over the internet or even visit the drug store to see what they have. The benefit of wearing these appliances is to see if your discomfort goes away. If not then you can also get a CBCT scan to see if there is any pathological cause for the discomfort. Eventually you will need to see a capable dentist OR visit the closest dental school in the country you are in...most times the fees are modest and they have capable dentists in virtually each specialty. I hope this advice helps!


Henry Schein