Four Signs That You May Have A TMJ Problem

Some symptoms of TMJ disorders are more apparent than others. You may not realize that other problems you are having start with your jaw.

One of our dentists in Port Charlotte, FL, can examine your mouth and help you determine if our TMJ treatments could help you. To make an appointment, call 941-625-7877 to reach Dietrich Dental Services or contact us online.

We don’t want you to be in pain. We are here to help.

Today, we want you to learn more about the symptoms of TMJ disorder, but first …


What Is TMJ?

TMJ is a shorter way of saying temporomandibular joint. You have two of these joints. They are located on each side of your head.

If you put your hands just below your ears, you will probably be able to feel these joints moving as you open and close your mouth.

TMJ disorders can develop as a result of alignment issues with your jaw, arthritis, injuries and illnesses, and teeth grinding. That last one is a particular concern for our dentists.

Grinding puts added pressure on your joint, and it can wear down the enamel of your teeth. This can make them more sensitive and more likely to become infected.

Millions of people grind or clench their teeth in their sleep. Many people also clench their teeth as a response to stress without realizing they are doing this. Teeth grinding also can put added pressure on the muscles and ligaments around your jaw.


4 TMJ Symptoms

Some symptoms of TMJ disorders may overlap with other conditions. For this reason, you may be experiencing problems without realizing they are connected to your jaw.

◼ Jaw mobility issues

We mostly take it for granted that we can move our jaws comfortably. When you are having trouble with your TMJ, that’s not always possible.

Swelling or inflammation around your jaw joints can make it difficult to open or close your mouth completely. Likewise, you may feel like you jaw is stuck at times. You also may feel like you jaw can be moved but only with real effort on your part.

You can understand how this could turn everyday activities like eating and speaking into a source of frustration.

◼ Jaw and facial pain

This can occur separately or alongside the mobility issues mentioned above.

It’s reasonable to understand that if something is wrong when your jaw, then it may cause pain in and around your TMJ. This jaw pain can affect different people in different ways. It may even affect the same person in different ways at different times.

These may be lingering pains that never seen to go away completely. These may be pains that develop or become more intense after heavy use of your jaw. It’s common for people with TMJ disorders to experience jaw pain during or shortly after meals, for example.

◼ Headaches and earaches

Earlier we asked you to hold your fingers below your ears to feel your TMJ moving.

Knowing this, it should not be surprising that people with TMJ issues often complain of frequent headaches and earaches.

Again, you may feel a pain more similar to a headache, including migraines. You may feel pains more like that of an earache. Or you may experience both kinds of pains at various times.

◼ Neck, shoulder, and upper back pain

As we noted earlier, it’s not just the jaw joint that can be affected by TMJ disorders. Your muscles can become strained as well.

And since your muscles are interconnected in many ways, the problem affecting your jaw can spread to neighboring muscle groups as well. This is why neck, shoulder, and upper back pains sometimes can be traced back to your jaw.


Taking Steps To Fight TMJ Trouble

Most of us will experience some TMJ problems during our lives. When these problems persist or recur frequently, then we should wonder if we have a TMJ disorder.

You may be able to address some minor TMJ issues on your own.

Over-the-counter pain medicine may relieve the jaw pain, headaches, or other pains you are experiencing. Eating softer foods for a short time can give your jaw time to recover. Heat can help improve jaw movement, and cold can reduce swelling.

If these efforts don’t help, then Dietrich Dental Services is here for you. Our dentists can help identify the causes of your TMJ problems. We also offer treatments that can help prevent the teeth grinding that is contributing to your issues.

You can call our Port Charlotte dentist office at 941-625-7877 or you can contact us online.