What Are Common Symptoms of TMJ? 

What Are Common Symptoms of TMJ? 

Team TMJ

TMJ is the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint, the place where the lower jaw connects to the skull. Problems can occur with this joint that are referred to as TMJ disorder. It is a common condition that is treatable through a variety of therapies and procedures. 

Do you think you may have TMJ disorder? Here are the common symptoms that indicate a problem with the temporomandibular joint. 

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

The following are common signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder:

  • Pain in the jaw. You may experience pain at any place in your jaw, but especially at the location of the TMJ, which is in front of the ear. If you place your fingers right in front of the opening of your ears and open and close your mouth, you should feel the movement of the joint. Any pain in this area indicates TMJ disorder may be present. 
  • Limited movement of the jaw. In many cases the inflammation of TMJ disorder can make it difficult to open and close your mouth. The muscles and tendons tighten up and limit your range of motion. You may find that you can’t open your mouth wide enough to bite into a sandwich or that your jaw seems tight when you yawn. In severe cases the jaw can lock up completely. 
  • Headaches. The pain of TMJ disorder can cause headaches, especially in the temple region of the head. The strain and pressure of the tight muscles and swollen tissue can resonate throughout your face and head. 
  • Neck pain. The muscles and tendons of your jaw wrap around the back of your head and neck, which means that tightness from TMJ disorder can cause pain in the back of your neck and head. 
  • Popping or clicking sound in the jaw. When the temporomandibular joint gets out of alignment, the disk that cushions the joint can slip out of place. This causes a popping or clicking sound as the bones rub against each other. The sound can also come from the tendons and ligaments slipping over the bones. 
  • Changes in bite pattern. In some cases the joint gets so out of alignment that your teeth don’t meet together properly when you bite down. If you notice an open bite (when the front teeth don’t meet together when you bite down), an underbite (when the top front teeth meet behind the bottom teeth), or a crossbite (some of the top teeth meet in front of the bottom teeth and others meet behind) that wasn’t there before, it could be due to TMJ disorder. 
  • Ear pain. An odd symptom of TMJ disorder that is often misdiagnosed is ear pain. Patients often think they have an ear infection when it is actually TMJ disorder. The joint is so close to the ear cavity that the pain may feel as if it is in the ear. Sometimes the joint swells up enough that it puts pressure on the ear cavity, causing pain. 

Where Should You Go For TMJ Treatment?

If you have any of the above symptoms of TMJ disorder, your first call should be to your general dentist. Some general dentistry practices treat mild to moderate TMJ disorders. Severe cases may need to be treated with surgery, which means your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon. An oral surgeon can perform a variety of procedures to realign, repair, or rebuild the temporomandibular joint. 

Fremont Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Provides TMJ Treatment

When traditional treatments have been ineffective at providing relief of your TMJ symptoms, surgery may be the best option. We provide surgical treatment for TMJ disorder that gets to the source of the problem, providing lasting relief of your TMJ symptoms. 

To learn more, contact us today to schedule an appointment.