Most people have no idea what TMJ is until they start experiencing TMJ dysfunction. Learning what TMJ is and the signs that you may have TMJ dysfunction can help you find answers to some of the symptoms you may be experiencing. Here is an explanation of what TMJ is and five signs that indicate you may have TMJ dysfunction.
What is TMJ?
The first question to answer is, what is TMJ? TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. You may have heard people say, “I have TMJ”. They mean TMJ disorder. The fact is everyone has TMJ. It is the joint and ligaments that allow your jaw to open and close.
TMJ problems typically occur in people between 20-40 years old, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are five signs you should look for that may mean you have TMJ disorder.
One of the most common symptoms of a dysfunctional TMJ is pain. Pain in the jaw when you chew, yawn, or even talk can be an indicator that the temporomandibular joint is inflamed. If you are experiencing pain in your jaw, you should make an appointment to see your dentist.
2. Clicking in the Jaw
If you hear clicking when you chew or move your mouth around in your jaw, it may be a sign of TMJ disorder. You may notice that when you open your mouth you hear a pop or a click. It can be the joint or the ligaments being strained in your jaw.
3. Your Bite Is Off
When you have TMJ disorder, you may notice that your bite is off. TMJ disorder often results in a change in your bite over time because the jaw cannot function as it should. You may notice that you develop an underbite or that your bite moves to the side a bit.
4. Frequent Ear Pain
In some cases, patients report auditory problems, including ear pain or trouble hearing. The jaw is very close to the ear canal. When it becomes inflamed it can block hearing and can also cause radiant pain in the ear.
5. Clenching of the Jaw and Grinding
Many people with TMJ disorder do not realize that they clench their jaw to manage the pain. Another symptom of a problematic TMJ is teeth grinding. It becomes a subconscious habit to deal with discomfort.
If you are experiencing any of the signs above, make an appointment to see a specialist that knows how to treat TMJ disorder. Make an appointment with our team at TMJ Care today.