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Hey Doctors, Last night or the night prior after brushing

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Posted on Mon, 18 Feb 2019
Question: Hey Doctors, Last night or the night prior after brushing my teeth I noticed that left side of my jaw felt like it was locking up. It was painful to chew or move my jaw. It felt the same way most of today. This morning I noticed that the area below my earlobe and where my jaw meet is swollen. It suddenly became swollen. I took some ibuprofen and took a nap. The pain is gone but the area is still swollen. The only other relavent information I have is that I had my teeth cleaned at the dentist last Friday and I played basketball outside in the cold for a couple of hours Sunday afternoon. What can be causing the issue? How long should I wait prior to visiting the doctor?
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Follow up: Dr. Aaron Branch (0 minute later)
Hey Doctors, Last night or the night prior after brushing my teeth I noticed that left side of my jaw felt like it was locking up. It was painful to chew or move my jaw. It felt the same way most of today. This morning I noticed that the area below my earlobe and where my jaw meet is swollen. It suddenly became swollen. I took some ibuprofen and took a nap. The pain is gone but the area is still swollen. The only other relavent information I have is that I had my teeth cleaned at the dentist last Friday and I played basketball outside in the cold for a couple of hours Sunday afternoon. What can be causing the issue? How long should I wait prior to visiting the doctor?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Aaron Branch (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Temporomandibular disorder

Detailed Answer:
Hello, I'm Dr. Branch, thanks for using Ask a Doctor. The symptoms you describe sound like temporomandibular disorder, or a problem with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is a problem with the joint where the mandible connects to the skull, in which there may be an alignment problem that causes irritation to the joint and the muscles surrounding the joint. The visit to the dentist, with having to keep your mouth open more than usual, likely exacerbated it.

The initial treatment includes anti-inflammatories like the Ibuprofen that you took. You can also use ice, and, especially now that the pain is better, some jaw exercises can help as well (you can find some good information about these at www.tmj.org).

If you have evidence of teeth grinding (such as at night), then you may need occlusal splints, so I would suggest seeing a dentist who treats TMJ to get evaluated and possibly treated for this to prevent any future attacks.

I would continue the Ibuprofen for a few more days until the pain and swelling completely resolve. If this episode completely resolves, you probably don't need to see a doctor for it, but if it recurs, then you may need other medications to help with the pain and to help relax the muscles that are causing this pain.

I hope that helps, please let me know if you have any questions about any of that and I would be glad to discuss it further with you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
doctor
doctor
Answered by Dr. Aaron Branch (0 minute later)
Brief Answer:
Temporomandibular disorder

Detailed Answer:
Hello, I'm Dr. Branch, thanks for using Ask a Doctor. The symptoms you describe sound like temporomandibular disorder, or a problem with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is a problem with the joint where the mandible connects to the skull, in which there may be an alignment problem that causes irritation to the joint and the muscles surrounding the joint. The visit to the dentist, with having to keep your mouth open more than usual, likely exacerbated it.

The initial treatment includes anti-inflammatories like the Ibuprofen that you took. You can also use ice, and, especially now that the pain is better, some jaw exercises can help as well (you can find some good information about these at www.tmj.org).

If you have evidence of teeth grinding (such as at night), then you may need occlusal splints, so I would suggest seeing a dentist who treats TMJ to get evaluated and possibly treated for this to prevent any future attacks.

I would continue the Ibuprofen for a few more days until the pain and swelling completely resolve. If this episode completely resolves, you probably don't need to see a doctor for it, but if it recurs, then you may need other medications to help with the pain and to help relax the muscles that are causing this pain.

I hope that helps, please let me know if you have any questions about any of that and I would be glad to discuss it further with you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
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Dr. Aaron Branch

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Practicing since :2011

Answered : 917 Questions

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Hey Doctors, Last night or the night prior after brushing

Hey Doctors, Last night or the night prior after brushing my teeth I noticed that left side of my jaw felt like it was locking up. It was painful to chew or move my jaw. It felt the same way most of today. This morning I noticed that the area below my earlobe and where my jaw meet is swollen. It suddenly became swollen. I took some ibuprofen and took a nap. The pain is gone but the area is still swollen. The only other relavent information I have is that I had my teeth cleaned at the dentist last Friday and I played basketball outside in the cold for a couple of hours Sunday afternoon. What can be causing the issue? How long should I wait prior to visiting the doctor?