How TMJ Can Cause Facial Swelling

How TMJ Can Cause Facial Swelling

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinging joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. It’s essential for chewing, speaking, and smiling — but TMJ pain is common among adults of all ages.

If you’re living with jaw pain, you might have a TMJ disorder. TMJ disorders affect the bones, muscles, and ligaments of your jaw, and it can progress without proper care.

Recurring jaw pain, stiffness, and reduced jaw function are tell-tale signs of a TMJ disorder. But sometimes, symptoms are much more visible. Facial swelling is a possible side effect of TMJ disorders, and it shouldn’t be ignored.

Walied Touni, DDS, MSD, and our team at Touni Orthodontics provide comprehensive oral care for people in Sunnyvale, California, and our services include diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders. If you have jaw pain and facial swelling, TMJ treatment could help.

Identifying the signs of a TMJ disorder

Your TMJ is an essential joint in daily life. When it’s sore, stiff, or swollen, you notice quickly. But since TMJ disorders come in many forms, it’s not always easy to recognize the signs right away.

TMJ pain might start suddenly or develop more slowly over time. A few of the most common causes are arthritis, wear and tear, bite misalignments, or acute trauma to your face. Some people develop TMJ disorders because they clench or grind their teeth subconsciously (bruxism). 

A few of the most common signs of a TMJ disorder are:

If you have a TMJ disorder, your jaw might feel painful or tired often. Pain that starts in your jaw may radiate to your head, ears, or neck. 

Facial swelling: an uncommon but serious sign

Noticeable facial swelling is a fairly uncommon symptom of TMJ disorders, but it does happen. You may be more likely to suffer facial swelling if you have a severe, untreated TMJ disorder or significant jaw misalignment.

As your TMJ gets more irritated, inflammation develops around the joint capsule of your jaw. This irritation and inflammation can eventually lead to joint damage and worsening pain. 

Swelling ranges from mild to severe, and it may only affect one side of your face. You might notice that it gets worse when you use your jaw and subsides with rest, but some people experience persistent jaw swelling with severe TMJ disorders.

Finding relief with TMJ disorder treatment

If you have symptoms of TMJ and you’ve noticed swelling on one (or both) sides of your face, book an appointment with Dr. Touni and our team. Facial swelling could be a sign of TMJ damage, so it’s important to have it checked out.

Dr. Touni starts with a facial and oral exam, and he may order X-rays too. If he identifies a TMJ disorder, a range of treatments might be right for you.

Rest and at-home care may be enough to relieve your TMJ symptoms. Dr. Touni often recommends using ice packs for about 10 minutes at a time, a few times a day, to reduce pain and swelling. Along with rest, he may recommend taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.

We continue monitoring your symptoms to determine if treatment is effective. If not, we may start you on a physical therapy plan, give you a mouth guard, or recommend advanced treatment like corticosteroid injections or surgery.

Facial pain and swelling could mean you have a TMJ disorder. Contact our team at Touni Orthodontics online or call us at 408-412-5249 to schedule an exam today.

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