10 Common and Not-So-Common Signs of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that connects the lower jawbone to the rest of the skull. It can arise due to a variety of dental issues and cause many different symptoms. Some of these symptoms are easy to spot, while others may surprise you.
Reach out to your dentist if you notice any of these ten signs of TMJ disorder.
1. Jaw Pain
Jaw pain is among the most common and widely known TMJ symptoms. Damage to the joint itself and soreness in the surrounding muscles can lead to both aching and sharp pain when chewing or biting.
There are many dental issues that can contribute to jaw pain, so it’s always a good idea to visit your dentist to find out what’s wrong.
2. Other Jaw Issues
Many of the signs of TMJ disorder concern your jaw. Along with jaw pain, you might also notice clicking and popping noises. Damage or dislocation of the joint can cause these issues, as can opening your jaw too wide.
In serious cases, you can even experience jaw-locking. Your jaw can become stuck in an open or closed position. You should reach out for immediate TMJ disorder treatment if you experience this, and avoid trying to force the jaw open or shut.
TMJ disorder can cause pain in areas other than the jaw as well. If you experience frequent headaches, TMJ disorder may be the primary cause. When TMJ disorder causes headaches, you can experience pain similar to a tension or migraine headache.
The muscles that control TMJ movement spread across the side of your head. Pain and soreness in these muscles can feel like they are remotely in your jaw, but this discomfort may be due to TMJ disorder.
4. Apparent Earaches
Earaches are a thoroughly unpleasant sensation often related to an ear infection. However, what might feel like an infection-related earache could actually be TMJ disorder. The joint itself is located directly in front of the ears on either side of the face. Pain in the joint can feel like an earache at first, especially if the pain is dull and aching.
5. Neck Pain
If you suffer from chronic neck pain, you may be dealing with TMJ disorder. Muscle spasms caused by TMJ disorder can affect the neck, leaving it sore and painful over time. TMJ disorder treatment could be an effective route to lasting relief for your neck pain.
6. Ear Congestion
In some cases, TMJ disorder can cause a feeling of ear congestion. You may experience the sensation that your ears are “full,” much like during an ear infection. TMJ disorder can trigger tension in the nearby stapedius muscle, an important part of the inner ear. This can lead to reduced hearing and a persistent feeling of ear congestion.
7. Pain Behind the Eyes
Some of the muscles involved in chewing attach to the side of the skull behind the eyes. When these muscles experience TMJ disorder, you can feel an aching or sharp pain that seems to come from behind the eyes. This sensation is common with TMJ-related headaches as well.
8. Dizziness and Vertigo
Dizziness and vertigo are both issues that arise when something affects the inner ear. The inner ear is responsible for maintaining your feeling of balance. TMJ disorder can affect components of the inner ear and disrupt your balance in much the same way it can cause ear congestion.
9. Unexplained Finger and Arm Numbness
TMJ disorder can cause muscle spasms that affect more than just your jaw, face, and neck. These spasms can cause pinched nerves as well, which can lead to numbness in your fingers and arms. Neuromuscular dentistry is an important part of identifying these kinds of issues and planning effective treatment.
10. Taste Disturbances
One of the least well-known TMJ symptoms is the development of taste disturbances. Many patients who experience TMJ disorder may also experience a reduction in their ability to taste food. Others report intermittent metallic tastes in their mouths.
The link between TMJ disorder and these taste disturbances isn’t entirely understood yet. One potential pathway is the link between chronic pain in the mouth and the disruption of the thin nerve fibers responsible for transmitting taste information.
Effective TMJ Disorder Treatment in Michigan
If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, you can reach out to Berrien Dental for effective TMJ disorder treatment options. We use the latest equipment to take a detailed look at your jaw, mouth, nerves, muscles, and bones and how they work together.
By taking this approach, we can identify and address the root cause of your TMJ disorder rather than simply treating symptoms. Schedule an appointment with your TMJ dentist in Berrien Springs to find out how we can help today.