Do I Have a Dislocated Jaw or a Broken Jaw?

Health CareA dislocated or broken jaw is an injury to the temporomandibular joint or TMJ, the joints responsible for attaching your skull to your lower jawbone. Your TMJ can crack, break, or worse, come unhinged from your skull.

When your TMJ becomes unhinged, this means that you have a dislocated jaw. A TMJ doctor must then attend to your condition.

Dislocated or Broken Jaw Symptoms

The most common symptoms of a broken jaw include swelling, pain, and bleeding. Your whole face will swell, which in turn makes your jaw feel stiff and painful. Your mouth can also bleed which can cause breathing issues since blood flow may obstruct your airways. Likewise, you may have difficulty talking or chewing because of tenderness and pain in the affected area. If your jaw is severely broken, you may have restricted jaw movements, or worse, you may not be able to move them at all.

Some bruising and numbness of your gums and face may also be present. You may also notice that your face will feel lumpy since a broken jawbone will cause the face of your shape to appear abnormal. Depending on your injury’s impact, you may also have loose, broken, or uprooted teeth.

If you’ve dislocated your jaw, you may also experience almost the same symptoms of a broken jaw, along with other symptoms.  You’ll notice that your jaw protrudes significantly, similar to a prominent overbite and that your teeth fail to line up properly as expected, making your bite feel weird. You may also have difficulty speaking and experience drooling since a dislocated jaw may prevent you from properly closing your mouth.

Common Causes of a Dislocated or Broken Jaw

Facial trauma is the main cause of a dislocated of broken jaw. Below are the most common injuries that can lead to a dislocated or broken jaw:

  • Physical facial assault
  • Sports related injuries
  • Vehicular accidents
  • Accidental falls in the workplace or home

If one these happens to you and experience the symptoms mentioned above, you should go to the doctor to have your TMJ checked. A TMJ doctor will ask about your medical history, what exactly happened during the accident, conduct a physical examination of the affected area, and take X-rays to determine the best course of treatment for you.