Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of the most complex joints in the human body and connects your jaw to your skull. Located just underneath your ear on either side of your head, these joints plays an essential role in the daily functions of the jaw.
There are several factors that can cause the TMJ to function improperly—and cause pain and discomfort as a result. The following are some of the most common signs of an issue with the TMJ, so don’t ignore them!
Headaches can result from muscle tension from an improperly functioning TMJ . The muscles and connective tissue that allow the TMJ to function can be strained when the joint is out of alignment, leading to tension.
This tension can then spread throughout the head, neck, and even the shoulders and upper back. People who experience headaches regularly with no known cause might consider visiting their dentist for an assessment of their TMJ to determine if this jaw joint could be at the root of the issue!
Jaw Popping or Clicking
Another common sign of a problem with the TMJ that often goes ignored are odd sounds that happen when chewing, speaking, or yawning. For some, these sounds will only be audible to the person experiencing them, while for others, these noises are obvious even to other people. The noises can vary but could include clicking, grinding, popping, or even crunching sounds .
If you’re experiencing any of these sounds when you move your jaw in correlation with the other signs discussed here, you could have a TMJ disorder!
Many people don’t realize that a problem with the ears could actually point to a problem with your temporomandibular joint. If you frequently experience ear pain or aching around the ear, don’t overlook the TMJ as a potential cause .
Some people who have a TMJ disorder also experience tinnitus, which is a ringing or buzzing noise in the ears only audible to the experiencer. Because the temporomandibular joint is so close to the ears, it’s important not to rule out its role in ear discomfort or problems.
Discomfort When Chewing or Speaking
Another common sign of TMJ disorders is pain or discomfort when the jaw is in motion, such as when chewing or speaking . However, for some people, this pain is chronic and may persist even when the jaw is at rest.
You may also experience sore facial muscles, and the discomfort may be intermittent or persistent. For many patients with TMJ issues, this discomfort impacts their daily life and will require some form of treatment to remedy.
Are You Experiencing Signs of TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorders are treatable! By following up with your experienced dentist, you can uncover the root cause of your TMJ discomfort. Your dentist can help you find the right treatment to alleviate your discomfort, so don’t hesitate to ask your dentist about your jaw pain!