Symptoms of TMJ

symptoms of tmjSan Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ for short, refers to any condition that disrupts the alignment of your temporomandibular joint—which connects your jaw to your skull.

If you suffer from TMJ, the issue with the temporomandibular joint can impact your oral health and even your overall health, often causing pain of a debilitating nature that impedes your ability to function on a daily basis. TMJ quickly affects the jaw joints and, over time, will impact your teeth and mouth, even spreading pain throughout your neck, shoulders, and spine.

Why does significant or debilitating pain occur so often in cases of TMJ? Because the temporomandibular joint itself is located right next to the trigeminal nerve, a crucial part of the nervous system that transmits more sensory input to your brain that any neural pathway in the body—including the spinal cord. This pain can occur in the jaw joints, teeth, mouth, neck, shoulders, or back. It also can manifest in the form of severe headaches that may feel like migraines. In fact, headaches stemming from TMJ often are misdiagnosed as migraines, because both types of headaches aggravate the trigeminal nerve in a similar manner.

Click here to learn about how TMJ causes headaches, or about the difference between TMJ headaches and migraines.

Symptoms of TMJ

No two cases of TMJ are alike and, consequently, patients suffering from TMJ often experience widely different sets of symptoms. Certain symptoms, however, are reported more often than others.

These include:

  • A clicking or popping sound that occurs when you open and close your jaw
  • Difficulty or pain while chewing
  • Having a locked jaw, or limited range of motion in the jaw
  • Teeth that become loose, worn, chipped or cracked
  • Pressure emanating from behind or below one eye
  • Tension in the facial area
  • Stuffy or congested ears, or ringing in the ears
  • Tension in the neck, shoulders and/or back
  • Experiencing numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in the extremities
  • Malocclusion, also known as a misaligned or “bad” bite
  • Posture problems
  • Earaches
  • Dizziness or vertigo

This is by no means an all-inclusive list, which is why it is important to undergo a TMJ evaluation if you suffer from chronic pain in any form.

Do I have TMJ?

Are you experiencing some combination of the symptoms listed above? If so, then you could suffer from TMJ. The only way to alleviate a case of TMJ is through professional diagnosis and treatment. This disorder will not just go away on its own. In fact, the condition and the pain and other symptoms it causes will worsen.

The best-qualified medical professional to diagnose and treat a case of TMJ is a neuromuscular dentist. This is a specialization of dental science that focuses on the alignment of the bite and jaw.

Click here to learn more about TMJ, or see some frequently asked questions about the disorder.

At Glen Park Dental, we are proud to have several dentists on staff specializing in neuromuscular dentistry. Each of our neuromuscular dentists has received training at the Las Vegas Institute, considered the world’s most renowned post-graduate institution for dental education.

If you have been diagnosed with TMJ, or think you may suffer from the disorder based on the list of symptoms above, contact the office of Glen Park Dental as soon as possible by calling (415) 585-1500 to schedule a consultation.

Glen Park Dental is proud to provide comprehensive oral health care for patients in the areas of Marin, Oakland, and San Francisco, California.