What Are Some of the Most Common Symptoms and Signs of TMJ Disorder?

A young woman wincing in pain while holding her fingers to her cheek.TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. This is a big word but its actually a simple one. “Temporo” refers to the top bone in the jaw and “Mandibular” refers to the bottom bone in the jaw, of course “Joint” refers to the point where they join up. These joints work with the jaw muscles and make it possible for the mouth to open and close. 

Located in front of the ears and connected to the jaw, the temporomandibular joints make it possible to chew, speak and perform a wide range of movement. Because of their location, in front of the ears and back of the mouth, and the fact that the TMJ is used heavily and actively on every day of your life, it is no surprise that problems can lead to a disorder.

What Are Some of the Most Common Symptoms and Signs of TMJ Disorder?

  • A painful, sore or tender jaw
  • Your “bite” can feel off due to uneven teeth contact
  • Headaches, dizziness or ear pain and ringing are often experienced
  • Eating and chewing can be tough, even producing noticeable discomfort
  • The joints that open and close the mouth can “lock-up” or tighten
  • Some patients have suffered hearing and vision difficulties

Millions of Americans suffer from TMJ disorders. Finding the cause of TMJ Disorder in most patients is difficult, although arthritis, jaw injuries and past dental work can often contribute to TMJ disorder. Unfortunately there isn’t a cure, but the good news is that you don’t have to sit back and suffer. There are many effective tools and treatments that we, as dentists, can use to help alleviate and control the symptoms and discomfort.

In some cases TMJ disorders could diminish on their own, especially if some simple precautionary changes are taken. Starting at home, you can begin taking over-the-counter medicine to reduce the pain and administering an ice pack to the affected area to lessen the symptoms. It is also good practice to avoid chewing gum, eating chewy or sticky food and stretching the mouth during yawns.

Teeth Grinding is a Big Factor in Worsening TMJ Symptoms

Many, many people grind their teeth at night and are completely unaware of doing so. It is most always an unconscious action and not under one's control. Grinding your teeth at night can make symptoms much worse, not to mention create all kinds of other dental damage and havoc. If the symptoms of TMJ are present and not improving on their own, then it is important that you consult with Dr. Watkins. He can provide you with a custom-fit bite guard to reduce grinding during the night as well as evaluate for other possible treatments and remedies.

Also visit this page to discover how Botox can be used to treat TMJ and Bruxism.

Give us a call today at 574-293-9832. We are here to help and to do everything we can to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorder.

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Watkins Family Dentistry Bruce Watkins, DDS

Watkins Family Dentistry is a comprehensive dental practice in Elkhart, IN, providing general, cosmetic, and restorative care. Dr. Bruce Watkins is a highly trained dentist affiliated with:

  • International Dental Implant Association (IDIA), Diplomate
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD)
  • American Academy of Facial Esthetics (AAFE)
  • Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)
  • American Dental Association (ADA)
  • Chicago Dental Society (CDS)

To request an appointment, please fill out our online form or call (574) 293-9832.

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