Jaw pain can be a troubling and disruptive experience. If the pain is severe, it can stop you in your tracks. Even less severe pain can make it hard for you to go about your daily activities. It can make you give up certain hard-to-chew foods, forcing you to eat a less healthy–and sometimes less enjoyable–diet.
Can jaw pain on one side be TMJ? Yes.
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD) often develop symmetrically, in both jaw joints at the same time. However, it is possible for people to develop the disorder and experience symptoms on just one side of the head. However, as the condition progresses, it will likely spread to affect the other joint as well.
Other Potential Causes of Jaw Pain on One Side
TMJ is one of several common causes of jaw pain on one side. You should also consider other potential explanations of jaw pain on one side to determine whether you should seek out a TMJ dentist in Sydney. Consider whether your jaw pain might be caused by:
- Jaw trauma
- Dental problems
Jaw trauma can lead to ongoing jaw pain. This ongoing jaw problem can, over time, worsen to become TMJ. However, you might experience symptoms like jaw pain long before the condition meets the clinical definition of TMJ. It’s best to talk to a dentist trained in taw treatment when symptoms first appear to avoid more serious problems later.
Dental problems can often seem like jaw problems. In particular an infected tooth can cause pain that radiates out from the tooth. It can sometimes seem like it’s coming from your jaw joint. Watch for other symptoms of dental problems. This might include a tooth that is visibly damaged or discolored, sores on your gums, discharge from the tooth and/or gums, and bad breath.
Sinusitis can make pain that seems like it’s coming from your jaw joint as well. Sinuses are hollow spaces underneath your face. When infected, they can become inflamed, leading to pain in or near your jaw joint. Sinusitis symptoms include pressure in your face, around or below the nose, especially, nasal congestion, nasal discharge, fatigue, and fever.
If you can eliminate other potential causes, seek treatment for TMJ. This is especially true if your jaw pain is muscle soreness or pain in the joint.