by Dr. H. Kopel
Sports injuries to the head can result in chipped, broken or avulsed teeth and even fractured or broken bones including the jaws. The jaw joint or TMJ is also susceptible to sport injuries. In some cases, your muscles or ligaments in your face may be torn or injured from getting hit in the face – even if the bones aren’t broken.
Sport induced TMJ can be caused either by a traumatic blow to the jaw or muscle strain that puts stress on the tempromandibular joint. It’s also possible to suffer TMJ because you are overworking your jaw during sports. Clenching your teeth is common when you are trying to use all your strength.
Symptoms indicating a TMJ injury include jaw pain, stiffness, change in the bite, problems with chewing or talking, headaches, earaches, and more. One of the best ways to protect against these type of injuries is a properly fabricated athletic guard. This can best be accomplished by your dentist. Be sure to have a proper medical and dental checkup after any sports injury.