Do I Have TMJ? Common Signs & Symptoms

Do I Have TMJ? Common Signs & Symptoms

Team TMJ

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint syndrome, can result in pain that interferes with patients' quality of life. Jaw and facial pain are common signs of this disorder. However, some TMJ symptoms may be harder to pinpoint, and not all patients present with the same effects.

About TMJ Syndrome

TMJ is a common abbreviation for the temporomandibular joints, which connect the skull and lower jaw. These complex joints can slide and rotate, allowing many types of motion such as chewing, swallowing, and yawning.

When the temporomandibular joints become inflamed, overused, or misaligned, they can cause significant pain. Fortunately, dentists and oral surgeons offer multiple treatment options.

Symptoms of TMJ

The symptoms of TMJ can easily be mistaken for other disorders. See a medical professional to diagnose if you have any of these symptoms.

  • Jaw soreness and discomfort, especially first thing in the morning or the late afternoon
  • Headaches
  • Pain that spreads from the face to behind the eyes, neck, shoulder, or upper back
  • Jaw clicking, popping, or grating when accompanied by pain
  • Inability to chew, speak, open, or close the mouth without discomfort
  • Jaw locking
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Altered dental bite

Causes of TMJ

TMJ may not have a clear cause. One of the most common causes of this disorder is strain on the jaw joints and muscles that support speaking, chewing, and swallowing. Chronic teeth grinding or bruxism is strongly associated with TMJ.

Other common causes include:

  • Jaw injury such as an accident or blow to the face
  • Disc displacement
  • Arthritis

Treatment Options

Supportive care can help to ease the pain of TMJ. Warm or cold compresses, gentle stretching, avoiding wide jaw movements, and eating softer foods during a flare-up can help the muscles around the joint relax and ease the strain. Dental professionals may also prescribe custom-made appliances that relax the jaw at night.

Arthritis and joint derangement may need surgical care. Jaw surgery is a complex procedure best handled by an expert oral surgeon.

Frequently Asked Questions About TMJ

Does TMJ go away on its own?

In some patients, milder TMJ cases can go away independently. However, most cases require some kind of intervention, whether in the form of at-home supportive treatment or care from a dental professional.

Can TMJ result from a car accident?

Car accidents are a common cause of TMJ. Any significant facial or jaw injury can displace the joint or cause tension and pain.

Call Upper West Side Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

TMJ can significantly impact your daily life. However, you don't have to live with the pain. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, call our Manhattan, NY, office at 212-466-6984 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Park.