Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders encompass a range of problems with the TMJ. This
joint is one of the most complex joints in the human body; it’s what allows your jaw to open
and close and move side to side.
People who experience problems with their TMJ typically feel pain, hear popping or clicking
sounds when moving their jaw, or have a variety of other symptoms that can severely impact
their quality of life.
Since the TMJ is responsible for everything from eating to talking, the pain of having a TMJ
disorder is difficult to avoid. What are the consequences of leaving your TMJ disorder
Head, Neck, and Shoulder Pain
One of the symptoms TMJ disorders cause is tension in the jaw muscles. When the joint isn’t
able to work properly, the surrounding muscles can become stiff and sore. If the muscles that
are responsible for your jaw are tense, this tension can radiate outwards to cause pain in the
Headaches are common in those who have a TMJ disorder, but so is neck pain, upper back pain,
and even shoulder pain. Without treatment, your tense jaw muscles can continue to affect your
body and result in chronic tension or pain.
Because the TMJ is so close to the ears, problems with this joint can result in earaches, tinnitus,
or recurring ear infections. Some sufferers of TMJ also experience problems hearing, vertigo, or
general ear pain.
Problems with the inner ear can result in a variety of symptoms, so don’t overlook your TMJ as
the cause if you’re consistently experiencing problems with your ears with no definite cause!
TMJ can lead to problems with the jaw that are painful and can cause permanent damage. For
instance, if arthritis is causing your TMJ pain, the cartilage in your TMJ is at risk to be damaged.
Tense muscles can cause a locked jaw, dislocation of the jaw, or general chronic jaw pain.
Since the jaw is involved in many activities—from yawning to eating to speaking—this jaw pain
is often chronic and unavoidable, making it an aggravating, persistent symptom for people who
live with TMJ problems.
Impacted Quality of Life
As a result of the constant pain of your TMJ disorder, you may find yourself reaching more
often for pain medication. Whether over-the-counter or prescription, these medications can
have a range of effects on the body if overused.
In addition, you may not be able to concentrate, have trouble sleeping, or feel depressed
because of your constant pain and discomfort. People who live with TMJ disorders can
experience an impacted quality of life as a result of their symptoms.
These consequences of untreated TMJ disorders are entirely treatable! Many of the causes of
TMJ pain can be treated without invasive means such as surgery. There’s no reason to let your
TMJ pain prevent you from enjoying life and being your best self. Schedule an appointment
with your dentist today to learn what treatments are available for your TMJ pain!