Severe Jaw Pain

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Wiped Out, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Today as I was about to eat lunch with my student teacher I started to say something to her and experienced severe pain in my jaw-only lasted about 6 seconds but on a scale of 1-10 I'd give it a 9.

    As I sad down to eat every time I chewed and swallowed the pain was so intense-again only last about 6 seconds, but it probably happened at least 20 times during lunch.

    The afternoon was fine. After work on my way to the therapist every time I yawned, the same thing.

    I just got home about 10 minutes ago with husband and difficult child from difficult child's wrestling practice. Since I hadn't had time to try supper we thought try a milk shake-NOPE-can't eat with a spoon or drink it with a straw.

    It is my lower jaw back near my ear on the left side. It feels like it tightens up and then relaxes. I took some ibuprofen a bit ago and am hoping it helps-I'm so hungry!!!!!

    People at work think it might be TMJ. I have no idea. I did call the dentist after lunch on the advice of my co-workers and the dentist office said to monitor it and call back in the morning if it continues so they can get me in at a time when I'm experiencing the pain.

    On top of it I have a headache!-GRRRR

    Anyone else experience this or have any idea what it could be or how to help it.
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I have the same thing happen periodically---about once or twice a year. It is extremely painful---I think it may have something to do with TMJ and nerve entrapment. When it happens I can't even drink without it killling me, and talking....impossible....not easy when you're a teacher and spend the entire day talking. I usually take a muscle relaxer and it helps a little.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Could very well be TMJ, which can be brought on by stress, and let's see....hmmmm... yup! You've had plenty of THAT lately! And the headache could be related as well.

    Hope the drugs work so you can at least eat tonight.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I've had this happen a few times in the past-sporadically, but always after a lot of stress resulting in tightening my face muscles of bearing down with my teeth.

    Try a glass of wine.
  5. ML

    ML Guest

    TMJ is the first thing that came to mind. I hope it gets better soon!
  6. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Sounds like TMJ but it could be a few other things.
    Women often get pain in their jaw when having symptoms of a heart attack(not that this intermittant type pain sounds like that but you want to keep it in mind)
    Get it evaluated. in my humble opinion. :alien:

    by the way, headache commonly comes along with tmj.
  7. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Yup, sounds like TMJ to me as well. I am so sorry!
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I get something like this now and then - were you trying to take a big bite, perchance?

    I get it usually when I yawn, and sometimes a muscle in my jaw just spasms and locks. If I rapidly pull my lower jaw to one side then the other, it can unlock the muscle, but the longer it stays in spasm the more 'bruised' it feels for hours to days afterwards.

    And yes, a muscle spasm in that area can lead to headaches.

    Make sure you have enough salt in your diet (don't add any if you already have some). If you're on a very low salt diet, mention the spasm to your doctor. hey, mention it anyway, just in case.

    If it's TMJ, the dentist is the right person to talk about it. To check, put your fingers gently on the angle of your jaw just below your ears, where you can feel the lower jaw connect with the upper. Then gently open and close your jaw and feel with your fingers - can you feel any clicking or lack of smoothness in the action? Can you hear a click at all? If so, tell the dentist and follow his instructions.

    If you are at all tense and have been grinding your teeth at any time (daytime, or during your sleep) then again, this needs to be checked out and could also cause this sort of spasm. Again, talk to the dentist.

  9. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Sharon... It sounds like me. I have a mild tmj problem and I grind my teeth. You'll probably need a muscle relaxer to get past this episode and a teeth guard if you grind your teeth.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I vote for TMJ.
    My husband refers back and forth to dentists all the time for TMJ.
    He's asleep now, or else I'd ask him what you're supposed to do in the meantime. Maybe just eat soft foods until you get the muscles under control.

    I've only had the problem once, when a German Shepherd jumped up and smacked me in the jaw. I got a chiro adjustment and the pain went away immediately.

    Good luck!
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    TMJ is also the first thing that popped into my mind. Also the fact that jaw pain in women is linked to heart isses, ie heart attack.

    Not that I necessarily think you were having heart problems......However, good idea to make an appointment and get it checked out. Pain rating that high on the scale usually has a good reason behind it.

  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Besides TMJ, could be from clenching at night, or an infection or inflammation of the parotid gland. It's in about that area and the facial nerve runs through it.
  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks everyone! My guess is it may be the TMJ. I have had the clicking in my jaws all my life but never any pain. However, I think lately I have also been clenching my teeth, sometimes at night I'll realize it and have to unclench them. About a year ago, when I was getting my teeth cleaned, the hygienist(sp?) asked if I was grinding my teeth at night. Don't know if I am, husband says he never hears anything.

    Last night after I fell asleep, I woke up around 11:00 and was able to eat about a quarter of my milkshake before it started to feel like the pain was coming back.

    Right now no pain at all which is good but I think I will call the dentist this morning from work. I'm hoping I am able to eat breakfast but we'll see.

    The weird thing I can talk and move my jaws around but not eat or yawn.

    One interesting thing, last night when I was googling TMJ, I found a list of symptoms. One of them was laryngitis. Wonder if this has anything to do with my chronic laryngitis?

    Marg-I have actually a very high salt diet-I salt everything-lots. For most people that's bad-for me with my Addison's disease it is o.k.-I need the salt.

    Again, thanks, you are all the best! I was very scared last night but feel less so this morning. I'll update tonight after I talk or see the dentist.
  14. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I also think it sounds like TMJ. I didn't know there could be a connection between TMJ and laringytis - I would mention this to the dentist. I hope the dentist is able to give you something to provide immediate relief. Do you use a nightguard? If not, maybe you could talk to him/her about getting one.

    I also think that if the pain persists, you should see your primary care physician just to rule out all other possible causes.

    I hope you feel better soon!!! Thinking of you... WFEN
  15. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    I can think of two possibilities, apart from TMJ. I get/have had both so I can vouch for the pain.

    First is an impacted wisdom tooth. All four of mine have played up over the years and the cure is permanent & simple if brutal - extraction of the offending tooth.

    Second, which is ongoing for me, is a slow draining or blocked salivary duct. The
    saliva builds up and causes pressure leading to pain. A slow draining duct can be managed by pressing on the back edge of your jaw with two fingers. This squeezes the excess fluid out and relieves the pressure, pain relief is immediate. You will need to probe (gently) for the slightly bulging spot where the pressure is. My dentist says he can cure it permanently but it is surgery so I'm not rushing into it unless it becomes an actual blockage. A blockage needs to be dealt with, promptly.

    Just my $0.02 worth,

    Marg's Man
  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Laryngitis and TMJ? Interesting. Hadn't heard of that connection.

    You may want to have an appliance made. They really help the clenching. Do you get headaches?
  17. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Chronic laryngitis? Have you had your wisdom teeth removed? I suffered with chronic laryngitis for a couple of years and then figured out that it had started when my wisdom teeth started cutting in at about 17. Once I got them removed, the chronic laryngitis was gone.

    I also had a bout of TMJ last year and that sounds like what you are describing. Dentist gave me some Diflusinal and I used a cheap moldable mouth guard from Walmart for a couple of weeks and it went away.

    If your wisdoms are impacted, that would cause grinding, when you sleeping and driving and stuff. You have to make a concerted effort NOT to grind.

    Also, for the next several days, don't eat things like steak and things that require a lot of chewing. You need to give that muscle a chance to relax.
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Good idea, if your ins. won't pay for the appliance. A cheap guard is better than nothing.