Do you know where your TMJ’s (temporomandibular joints) are in your jaw? See if you can find the joint on either side of your jaw that works like a sliding hinge whenever you open and close your mouth. The areas of your TMJ bones are covered with cartilage and a tiny, shock-absorbing disk to separate them. It allows smooth movement repeated countless times a day whenever you bite, chew, yawn or speak. Unfortunately, this vital joint connecting your jawbone to your skull can act up painfully whenever there is a disorder affecting or limiting your jaw’s movement.
Do You Have a TMJ Disorder?
A TMJ disorder is typically called a TMD. This condition can leave you feeling pain in those muscles that control your jaw movements and the joints. But it’s not just a TMJ disorder that could be causing your uncomfortable or even painful symptoms. So how can you tell if you have TMJ or something else in your head and jaw? For example, you can find yourself hurting from tense muscles and painful inflammation, along with other symptoms (see below). If your TMJ pain is coupled with one or more of these symptoms, there is a good chance that you might have a TMJ disorder.
- A grating sensation or hearing clicking or popping sounds anytime you open your mouth or chew
- Chronic pain in your face, upper back or neck areas
- Constant tingling or numbness in your face
- Feeling tooth pain or sensitivity from unusual wear and tear, chips, or cracks
- Frequent headaches
- Hearing ringing in your ears (tinnitus) or earaches
- Jaw locking when trying to open and close your mouth
- Painful chewing
- Problems with your balance and feeling dizzy
What Else Could Be Causing Your TMJ Symptoms
A TMD is not the only thing that could leave you with painful symptoms. Here are some conditions to be aware of when deciding what could be going on with your health:
- Cluster headaches, migraines or tension headaches: These can be felt along the sides of your face and your temples while the pain emanates outward.
- Chronic sinus pain and infections: These are felt near the temple and may manifest with fever and discharge.
- Pain in the face and jaw: This symptom can happen for many reasons, including an infected tooth, shingles, genetics, bruxism, arthritis, or even an undetected jaw injury.
- Trigeminal Neuralgia: This condition involves the malfunction of the two “trigeminal nerves” that control your jaw. Irritation in these nerves can leave you feeling numbness, tingling, and sharp pain around your face, teeth, and ear but only on one side of your face.
Call for Pain Relief
Optimal functioning of your jaw joints means that everything is working smoothly together so that your jaw movements are pain-free and easy to perform whether you are eating, speaking, or yawning throughout your day. If the signs of TMJ we outlined above seem all too familiar to you, you might benefit from visiting with our TMJ doctor as we take a look at your jaw health. The good news is there is help for TMJ issues, and we can help you determine a diagnosis and what treatment would be most effective for your condition. Give us a call today to schedule your visit, so you can look forward to feeling better than ever!