Your temporomandibular joint, commonly abbreviated as your TMJ, is a hinge joint on each side of your face that connects your jawbone to your skull. Some people develop TMJ disorders that can make it difficult to move their jaw or chew without discomfort. Fortunately, your dental specialist at Howl Dental can help diagnose and treat your TMJ.
The exact cause of TMJ is difficult to determine, so you may be wondering how to know if it’s time to contact Howl Dental about TMJ concerns. Here are the five signs you have a temporomandibular joint disorder.
1. Pain in Your Jaw Muscles or Joints
You might feel pain in the muscles of your cheek or temples since these muscles help open and close your jaw. You might also have more immediate pain in the jaw joint itself. This pain is associated with signs of a TMJ disorder, so you should mention it to your dentist.
2. Clicking Sounds
Some people with a TMJ disorder hear clicking or grating when they open or close their jaw. This sound could be a sign that there is an issue with your joint, especially if the noise is also accompanied by pain or discomfort.
3. Aches and Pains in the Face, Neck, or Shoulders
Even though a TMJ disorder more directly affects the joint of your jaw, you could feel pain in other nearby areas. Let your specialist at Howl Dental know if you frequently have headaches, especially in the morning, general facial pain, earaches, or neck and shoulder pain.
4. Loose or Damaged Teeth
Some of the causes of a TMJ disorder include tooth grinding, jaw clenching, an improper bite pattern, or trauma to the jaw. Along with these risk factors, you might notice loose teeth, worn enamel near your gum line, or worn or fractured teeth as signs of TMJ disorder.
5. Locking of the Joint
Severe TMJ disorder can cause your jaw to lock painfully. You might be unable to open your jaw until the joint is realigned. While this symptom is scary, treatment is available to help. You might additionally be relieved to know that surgery is not your only option. Symptom management and physical therapy are also effective treatments.
Learn More about TMJ Disorders
Your specialist at Howl Dental can help diagnose and treat your TMJ disorder along with helping you identify the signs of TMJ. Treatment options include behavioral changes, physical therapy, custom appliances, and medications. Learn more about TMJ and contact us for a full evaluation.