5 Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

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Do you suffer from TMJ disorder? Don’t put up with jaw pain any longer.

If you display these 5 symptoms, it’s time to see a TMJ specialist.

woman with TMJ headache.jpeg

1. Persistent Face or Jaw Pain

Tenderness in the TMJ area that worsens when you chew is often a sign of TMJ disorder. In rare cases, the joint may dislocate, causing the jaw to lock in an open position.

An aching neck or shoulders can also be a sign of TMJ disorder.

2. Pounding Headaches

Many people with TMJ experience pounding headaches or migranes. What sets a TMJ headache apart? It is accompanied by jaw pain or tenderness, starts when the jaw is used, or is associated with other TMJ symptoms.

3. Toothaches and Temperature Sensitivity

Toothaches occur for many reasons, including TMJ. Temperature sensitivity may indicate that the enamel on your teeth is wearing thin because of clenching and grinding due to TMJ disorder.

Remember, it’s possible to have a perfect smile without having a perfect bite. Even a nice smile may be hiding severe TMJ damage. 

4. Tinnitus 

Tinnitus occurs when you experience a ringing noise in your ear even though there is nothing making the sound. Tinnitus can be a symptom of many different diseases, but is a warning sign that something is wrong with your auditory system. If you experience tinnitus together with other TMJ symptoms, consult a TMJ specialist. Otherwise, ask your doctor about your symptoms. Check out this NIH article on tinnitus for more information.

5. Sleep Apnea 

An irregular jaw position can affect your tongue’s position at rest in your mouth and lead to a partially obstructed airway.

If you suffer from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, what can you do about it?

Here are 5 steps you can take to minimize the symptoms of TMJ.

1. Rest 

Try to give your jaw a break as much as you can. Avoid chewing gum, and pick softer foods that are easier to chew. Your temporomandibular joint is the most often used joint in the body, so it’s not possible to avoid using it altogether. But even small changes to your diet can make a big difference.

2. Massage 

Massage your jaw gently. Be careful not to use too much pressure, though, as this could do more harm than good. Getting regular massages for your head and neck can help, as well as physical therapy. Physical therapy is a common and helpful treatment for people with TMJ problems.  

3. Relaxation Exercises

Another way to alleviate TMJ pain is by performing relaxation exercises. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, relaxation exercises can be especially important, since anxiety is known to contribute to TMJ and bruxism (teeth grinding).

4. Stretching Exercises 

This post has a detailed description of stretching exercises to try. Remember, if you start to experience pain, stop the exercise immediately and give your jaw a chance to rest.

5. Consult a Dentist 

If you’ve tried these steps and your symptoms persist, it’s time to consult a dentist.

A neuromuscular dentist is your best option for addressing the root causes of your TMJ disorder. They’ll evaluate how your jaw, teeth, muscles, and tendons fit together to find the jaw position that is best for your whole mouth. What else should you look for in a dentist? Here are 3 qualities of a good TMJ specialist.

Remember, you should also consult a dentist if you experience significant pain that can only be alleviated by medication. Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can be a good way to reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief, but if you need anti-inflammatories week after week to manage the pain, this is a sign that something is wrong, and needs to be addressed.

Ready to Start Smiling? 

Don’t put up with TMJ pain and discomfort any longer. Learn more about this disorder in our free eBook