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Do I Have TMJ? Common Signs & Symptoms

February 27, 2024
Do I Have TMJ Common Signs & Symptoms

If you have pain in your jaw, face, neck, or shoulders, you may wonder whether your problems stem from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome. TMJ syndrome causes many uncomfortable symptoms due to overuse and inflammation of the jaw joints. Fortunately, TMJ often responds well to non-invasive treatment methods. 

Symptoms of TMJ Syndrome

  • Jaw tenderness or pain
  • Joint pain at either side of your lower jaw where it connects to the skull
  • Soreness in and around the ear
  • Painful chewing or difficulty chewing
  • Aches in the facial muscles
  • Jaw locking that makes it hard to open or close your mouth
  • Clicking, grating, or grinding sound from the jaw accompanied by pain

Causes of TMJ Syndrome

While TMJ produces pronounced symptoms in many patients, the causes may be unclear. An injury or blow to the face or jaw injury, such as an injury sustained in a car accident, may cause TMJ syndrome. Arthritis or disc problems in the joints are frequent culprits.

The Connection Between Stress and TMJ Syndrome

Many patients develop TMJ syndrome without any apparent cause. Symptoms of stress may include sleep problems, headaches, muscle pain, and teeth grinding. Some patients with bruxism (chronic teeth grinding) develop TMJ due to increased muscle tension and overuse, but not every patient with bruxism has this issue.

Treatment Methods

TMJ often responds well to non-invasive and supportive care. Your dentist can instruct you in jaw massage and relaxation techniques.

Adjusting your everyday habits during a TMJ flare-up can also help greatly. Avoid any wide jaw movements, including yelling, singing, and yawning. Avoid chewing gum.

Eat softer foods while your TMJ syndrome is active. Avoid hard, crunchy, or chewy foods.

Your dentist may prescribe a custom-made occlusal splint that holds your jaw in a relaxed position, taking pressure off the TMJ joints.

If non-invasive treatments don't work, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon for a consultation. Jaw surgery is typically a last resort.

Frequently Asked Questions About TMJ Syndrome

Can TMJ go away on its own?

The condition can reverse on its own, but most patients require some type of treatment or behavior modification to ease their symptoms.

My jaw pops and clicks, but it doesn’t hurt. Do I need to see a dentist?

If your jaw makes sounds but does not cause pain, you probably do not have TMJ or need treatment.

Call Fallin Family Dentistry

Many patients live with TMJ symptoms because they aren't aware of treatment options. If you have any of the above symptoms, please call our Zachary, LA office at 225-654-2212 to schedule an evaluation. Our doctors can assess your issue and recommend treatments to make you smile again.

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Zachary, LA 70791
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Contact our office today to schedule your appointment!

Fallin Family Dentistry
1338 Church St
Zachary, LA 70791
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