Orofacial pain has its own unique way of getting your attention. Whether it’s throbbing, shooting, dull, or tender, it can quickly sideline you from your day. But if the pain is only on one side of your face, could it still caused by your temporomandibular joint (TMJ)?
Absolutely. Many people experience TMJ pain on just one side of their face. Facial or jaw pain that occurs on one side is known as unilateral orofacial pain. Unfortunately, people with this type of pain may wrongly assume that TMJ problems always occur on both sides, and therefore something else must be causing the issue. They may confuse it with other ailments, such as an earache, toothache, or headache.
Your TMJ is a complex, hard-working joint that can become inflamed or misaligned on one or both sides. And, to add to the confusion, the pain can actually alternate between sides.
Why the TMJ Hurts on One Side
Orofacial pain can have many causes. Pain on one side of the face doesn’t necessarily mean that you injured the affected side of the jaw, though this can happen. Most often, it’s simply the way a person’s individual TMJ symptoms occur. You use your TMJ for talking, eating, and even breathing each day, so the strain and stress on the joint can manifest as pain on either side.
How to Treat Pain on One Side of the Face
Because unilateral orofacial pain can be complex, it’s best to see a medical professional who has an education and specialized training in orofacial pain. Dr. Auvenshine is Board Certified in the treatment of TMD and Orofacial Pain, and is among a group of dentists and health professionals dedicated to treating this special type of pain and the issues that cause it. His partner, Dr. Pettit, graduated from the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain Mini-Residency program and has completed over 500 hours of continuing education in the field of orofacial pain.
Don’t Ignore Unilateral Jaw Pain
Anytime you’re experiencing TMJ pain, it’s best to call MedCenter TMJ right away. But, there are a few things you can do to get relief even before your appointment. Avoid further strain on the jaw joint by eating TMD-friendly foods, avoiding chewing gum, and applying moist heat packs to the area a few times a day.
TMJ pain often gets worse without treatment – so don’t ignore it. Contact MedCenter TMJ to find out how you can get back to your life again without jaw or orofacial pain standing in your way.