The Symptoms of TMJ Disorders: What Patients Should Know

By J. Brent Gorrell on March 08, 2017

A woman with a TMJ disorderWe can about the overall dental health and wellness of our patients. That means paying attention to all structures of the mouth, from the teeth and gums to salivary glands and the jaw joint. Issues with any structures of the mouth need to be taken seriously in order to improve general wellness.

The team at our Mountain View general dentistry center would like to consider the basics of TM disorders, and then run down the various symptoms associated with the condition.

What Is a TMJ Disorder?

Also known as a TMD, a TMJ disorder refers to a problem with the alignment of your jaw joint. The jaw joint (the temporomandibular joint) is one of the most complicated joints in the entire body given the motions required to bite, chew, make facial expressions, and speak. Issues with the joint, the nerves, or the muscles of the jaw can lead to a TMJ disorder.

Causes of TMJ Disorders

There are many potential causes of TMJ disorders. Some of the most common potential causes include:

  • Physical injury to the jaw
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Excessive stress
  • Arthritis
  • Poor dental alignment

You'll know you have a TMJ disorder from the following symptoms.

Jaw Pain

Soreness, tenderness, and general pain of the jaw are some of the most common signs of a TMJ disorder. Persistent pain or soreness should be discussed with your dentist or doctor.

Clicking or Grinding of the Jaw Joint

The clicking, popping, and grinding of the jaw joint is one of the telltale signs most commonly associated with TMJ disorders. This can occur when yawning, speaking, or opening your mouth in certain ways.

Stiffness of the Jaw

You may find that your mouth can only open so far comfortably. This change may be alarming. Stiffness of the jaw is likely if the jaw joint is not properly aligned.

Locking of the Jaw

Sometimes your jaw doesn't just stiffen up. There are some cases in which a TMJ disorder leads to serious stiffness and locking of the jaw joint. This can be a major problem, and quite disconcerting should it happen frequently.

Pain Around the Ear, Neck, Eyes, and Temples

The pain around the jaw can radiate to other parts of the face, most commonly the ear. TMJ disorders can also lead to pain of the neck, shoulders, eyes, and temples as the muscles flex and tense. These symptom generally accompany the other symptoms of TMJ disorders.

What Treatments Are Available?

There are many different treatments available for TMJ disorders. Ideally your dentist will diagnose the root cause of the problem and then address this issue directly. Some common TMJ disorder treatments include:

  • Use of a bite guard/night guard
  • Orthodontic care
  • Cortisone injections
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Jaw surgery

Treatments will typically start with non-invasive measures, with jaw surgery reserved only for serious TMJ disorders that do not respond to other therapies. We can go over all of the above treatments in greater detail during an examination and consultation at the practice.

Learn More About TMJ Disorders

For more information about your many different treatment options for TMJ disorders, be sure to contact our team of dental health experts today. We look forward to your visit and helping you have a smile that's healthy as well as beautiful.

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Mountain View Office

809 Cuesta Dr
Ste 205
Mountain View, CA 94040

More Info Directions (650) 967-1441