Do You Have TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder isn’t limited to a specific few symptoms, and its resulting discomfort may not always seem related to your dental health. Chronic headaches, recurring earaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and neck and shoulder pain can indicate TMJ disorder, but they are also symptoms of a lot of other conditions. Today, we explain how you can gauge the likelihood of TMJ disorder by examining its symptoms and judging your jaw’s balance.

Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Since TMJ disorder affects the jaw’s temporomandibular joints (TMJs), jaw pain and stiffness are common symptoms. Aside from trouble with jaw movement, the presence of one or a combination of the following symptoms may suggest a jaw dysfunction;

  • Pain, soreness, and/or tenderness in the face and jaws when biting, chewing, and speaking
  • Inability or limited ability to open the mouth wide
  • Lockjaw—when the jaw becomes stuck, or locked, in an open or closed position
  • Clicking/popping noises when opening and closing the mouth
  • Habitual teeth-grinding and/or jaw muscle spasms
  • Fatigued jaw and facial muscles; tired feeling in the face

How Balanced Is Your Bite?

Most TMJ patients exhibit a unique combination of symptoms, and an accurate diagnosis requires the training and expertise of a professional. However, if you suspect that your chronic aches and pains may be TMJ related, then you can gauge the possibility of a jaw dysfunction by examining your jaw’s balance.

Stand in front of a mirror with your face and jaw well-lit. From a resting position, slowly open your mouth as wide as possible, and then slowly close it again, watching your jaws closely the entire time. If your lower jaw moves or jumps to the side, as though correcting itself, instead of moving directly up and down, then you may suffer from TMJ disorder. You can also place your hands on either side of your jaw to feel if the jaw moves smoothly or not.

Ask Your Dentist About TMJ Treatment

To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling the Sunny Smiles dental office nearest you in El Paso, TX, today! We have offices in the East, Northeast, and Westside of El Paso, and happily welcome patients from all nearby communities, including Chaparral, Canutillo, Vinton, and Sunland Park, New Mexico.