The temporomandibular joint, often known as TMJ, is a tiny, hinge-like joint located in the front of your ear, where the skull and lower jaw meet. This sturdy joint is responsible for jaw movement and, thus, essential for numerous functions such as speaking, yawning, and eating. Unfortunately, your TMJ may become dysfunctional because of trauma, arthritis, stress, teeth grinding, and stress, among other factors. As such, the precise reason for your TMJ disorder might be difficult to determine in most cases. However, by understanding the warning signs of Santa Monica TMJ disorder, you will know when to seek therapy. Continue reading to learn more.
Jaw Clicking and Popping Sounds
If you realize that your jaw pops, clicks, or makes other abnormalities when you open or close the mouth when chewing or yawning, it indicates TMJ disorder. As with other bodily joints, the TMJ should not generate abnormal sounds. These unusual joint noises indicate that something is not functioning appropriately and needs a dentist to check it.
Serious Jaw Pain, Stiffness, or Aching
TMJ-associated jaw discomfort could radiate from the jaw into other body areas, including the temples, neck, and shoulders. Sometimes, patients might experience pressure and discomfort in the eye and sinus area. Due to the intricate TMJ positioning, several body areas will suffer discomfort if this joint is damaged or malfunctions.
Headaches and Migraines
Do you awaken with a headache or migraine every morning? Such an issue is unusual and typically highlights that something is amiss. As evident in most patients, the most prevalent reason for constant headaches and migraines results from TMJ disorder. Therefore, consult your dentist for an individualized care plan if you struggle with such concerns.
Even though numerous instances of TMJ disorders are highlighted by discomfort in the jaw region, it could also impact the ears because of their proximity to the joint. Thus, if you experience constant ear aching, tinnitus, or clogged ears, without associated symptoms, TMJ disorder is the most probable cause, not an allergy or ear infection.
Once the joint gets severely swollen, the facial muscles work harder to make up for this disorder. The discomfort could radiate from the jaw to under the eyes, cheeks, and even forehead. If this radiating discomfort is not bad enough, muscle tension worsens the TMJ pain, resulting in more facial discomfort.
Neck and Shoulder Pain
It is unsurprising for patients to experience discomfort in their upper body, including the shoulders and neck. Although bad posture could cause this added discomfort, it could also be a symptom if you experience joint pain.
Worn, Cracked, or Fractured Teeth
If you realize your teeth have cracks or chips or appear worn down and do not recall suffering trauma, it may signify a TMJ disorder. Once there is an imbalance in your bite, the teeth and jaw muscles do not work harmoniously.
A misaligned bite could also cause patients to grind, clench their teeth, and shift their bite further, resulting in additional concerns. During your dentist’s consultation, your provider will spot the warning signs of teeth grinding and clenching that require treatment.
Just about anybody could suffer from TMJ disorder because it is a complicated joint that moves vertically and horizontally. However, the symptoms are different from one person to another. Some patients experience mild issues like stiffness or tenderness in the jaw and temples, whereas others suffer serious concerns like lockjaw and problems chewing. If you suspect you have this condition, talk to a dentist for a comprehensive diagnosis and care plan. Your treatment should focus on addressing the root cause of your disorder and managing any associated symptoms.