Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are any disorders that encompass the complex joint
in your body that connects your upper jaw to your lower jaw. Although necessary, the TMJ has
the potential to cause chronic pain and discomfort, especially if you have a misaligned bite.
A TMJ disorder is best diagnosed by a professional dentist who can evaluate the signs and
symptoms of your TMJ pain and talk with you about treatment. In the meantime, what are the
signs that a person might have a TMJ disorder?
Clicking or Popping Noises in Your Jaw
One of the most common signs that a person has an issue with their TMJ is a cracking, clicking,
or popping noise in the jaw. This noise is most commonly heard when opening or closing your
mouth, such as when speaking or chewing.
These noises can not only be aggravating, but usually come with some discomfort as well,
making them a sign of TMJ disorders that shouldn’t be ignored.
Jaw Pain or Additional Pain
People who suffer from a TMJ disorder commonly have jaw pain or other pain that radiates
tension throughout their head, neck, and in some cases, even the shoulders and back. When
the joint isn’t able to function properly, the jaw muscles surrounding the joint can become
tense and sore.
This tension can then radiate outwards and cause everything from jaw pain to headaches and
neck and back pain. Even earaches have been associated with TMJ pain, so don’t hesitate to
talk with your dentist if you’re having unexplained pain in your jaw that’s affecting other areas
of your body.
You Have Unexplainable Medical Problems
If you have medical problems that can’t be explained by any other cause, it might be a TMJ
disorder. These conditions may include:
* Chronic ear pain or infections. If these infections or pain don’t have any specific cause, it might be time to get your TMJ checked out—this joint is located very close to the ear and can cause problems!
* Ringing in the ears. If you have tinnitus without any definitive cause, this could be the result of a TMJ disorder as well.
* Bruxism. If you grind your teeth, you may be seeing signs of a TMJ disorder. Bruxism can happen for people who have a misaligned bite and can put excessive pressure on the jaw, therefore aggravating your TMJ. In addition, grinding your teeth can also be caused by tension in your jaw and therefore be a sign of a problem with your TMJ.
* Migraines. Tension headaches or migraines have long been associated with problems
with the TMJ. Any unexplained or persistent migraines may warrant an exam from your dentist!
Don’t wait to get any of the above problems evaluated to see if TMJ could be the culprit!
Are you seeing signs of a TMJ disorder in your daily life? Your dentist can examine your jaw as
well as your bite to provide you with a more specific diagnosis. Make an appointment with your
dentist today—TMJ disorders are treatable and you don’t have to suffer from these signs and