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TMJ and Facial Pain

      The strong emphasis that our practice places on temporomandibular disorders and orofacial pain has given us the opportunity to treat many patients who have been involved in traumatic injuries. The most common injuries that we see are those resulting from motor vehicle accidents. "Whiplash", (or as we prefer to call it a flexion-extension injury ) typically occurs if the head is thrown backward and forward while riding in a car that is hit from behind or the side. Extensive research has well documented the fact that most flexion-extension injuries occur following what is called "minor closed head injuries". This means that it is not necessary to suffer a fracture or even a direct head impact. In fact most patients report that their head was simply snapped backward and forward or side to side. This motion causes damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons supporting the head, neck, and jaw.

     Both patients and doctors are often unaware that this type of injury can damage the jaw joints and their surrounding structures. Unfortunately we often see patients months or even years after the injury. Early diagnosis of these disorders can speed the recovery.

Some of the more common symptoms include:

  1. Neck pain and stiffness
  2. Headaches
  3. Jaw pain
  4. Clicking or popping of the jaw joints
  5. Locking or difficulty opening the mouth
  6. Changes in short term memory, decreased ability to concentrate, and forgetfullness of dates, times and places

If you would like to ask a question about flexion-extension injuries and their relationship to temporomandibular disorders and orofacial pain--CLICK HERE

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