5 Warning Signs of TMJ

People throw the term TMJ around a lot. But what is it exactly? 

Your temporomandibular joint operates like a hinge as it connects your skull to your jawbone. You have one on each side of your face. When you have a TMJ disorder, you can experience symptoms in these joints, the muscles controlling movement in your jaw, and the nerves in your face.

TMJ symptoms can develop for a variety of reasons, including alignment issues in your jaw, cartilage damage, trauma, or stress. To treat these and other causes, contact Dr. William A. Schiro and our Michigan Maxillofacial Surgery and Implant Center team. If these symptoms look familiar, you could have a temporomandibular disorder. 

1. Pain in your temporomandibular joint

This common symptom of a TMJ disorder can occur in one or both of your jaw joints. It can include a variety of sensations from pain or tenderness to a popping or clicking in the joint when you open or close your mouth. Sometimes, you can even have symptoms that resemble a toothache.  

2. Aches and pains in your neck, face, or ears 

TMJ pain isn’t limited to your jaw. It can also cause discomfort and muscle spasms in other parts of your body, including your shoulders, neck, and face. You can also experience symptoms in your ears, such as:

Problems with your temporomandibular joint can even trigger dizziness or vertigo.

3. Difficulty opening or closing your mouth

Your jaw joints rely on a complex network of muscles that work closely together to engage in fine movements like speaking and forceful actions like chewing. 

Unfortunately, when these muscles become overactive and tight, they can cause these joints to lock, severely limiting your movement. In extreme cases, you might even need surgical intervention to reopen and realign your jaw joints.

4. Tooth damage

Not only do chronic teeth grinding and jaw clenching increase your chances of having TMJ disorders, they can also develop because of muscle spasms. Over time, these movements can cause structural changes with your teeth and worsen your TMJ symptoms. 

If your teeth have become sensitive, worn down, loose, or broken, it could be a sign of a TMJ disorder. 

5. Chronic headaches or migraines

If you’re struggling with headaches, it could be time to go to the dentist. TMJ can play a significant role in chronic headaches and migraines because of tendon, ligament, and muscle issues that develop due to TMJ dysfunction. As a result, approximately 1 in 10 men and women develop headaches triggered by TMJ disorders. 

These headaches can affect one or more areas in your head or face, or feel like a tension headache.

For more information on TMJ disorders, contact us by calling one of our Michigan Maxillofacial Surgery and Implant Center locations in Greater Lansing and St. Johns today. You can also send a message to our team here on the website.

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