Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
The temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge that connects the skull to the jaw, is meant to allow smooth and fluid motion that enables the mouth to open, close, and chew comfortably. Individuals who suffer from TMJ disorder have issues with the TMJ that make movement uncomfortable.
At our dental practice in Houston, TX, Dr. Jon Marc Van Slate offers TMJ treatment to alleviate pain and restore oral functions. Unfortunately, many patients neglect seeking treatment because they are unaware they suffer from the condition. Here, we go over some of the most common TMJ disorder symptoms so that people can recognize when it is time to seek professional care.
Limited Jaw Movement
One of the most obvious symptoms of TMJ disorder is pain surrounding the jaw. TMJ disorder can affect the jaw even further by limiting its movements and range of motion. Individuals suffering from TMJ disorder may find that they are only able to open their mouth partially, and they are likely to hear clicking or popping sounds when the jaw is extended. Some patients may even experience lock jaw, meaning that the jaw becomes temporarily stuck in the open or closed position.
TMJ disorder frequently causes persistent headaches or migraines. People often fail to link headaches to TMJ disorder because the two seem unrelated. However, TMJ disorder causes tension in the jaw muscles that can spread to other facial muscles. This can cause headaches, eye pain, or facial pain for our Houston patients.
Ear pain is another symptom that people may fail to associate with TMJ disorder. However, patients who suffer from TMJ disorder often complain of ear pain or a continual ringing in the ears. Ear pain is most likely to develop after a person bites, chews, yawns, or otherwise extends the jaw. The TMJ sits almost directly below the ear so it is not unusual for pain or discomfort to radiate upwards.
Neck and Shoulder Pain
It may sound strange, but TMJ disorder can even result in neck and shoulder pain. This type of pain is most likely to be a result of tension. People who suffer from TMJ disorder tend to clench their jaw and facial muscles, usually in response to persistent irritation and discomfort. If the facial muscles are tight, the muscles in the neck and shoulders are likely to tense up as well, which can lead to pain or general discomfort.
Since many people who suffer from TMJ disorder are unaware of its symptoms, they often do not seek medical treatment. It is common for dentists to be the first to diagnose the condition. Dr. Van Slate is able to recognize TMJ disorder because it usually causes dental damage. People with this condition frequently clench or grind their teeth. The extra wear and tear can damage tooth enamel, particularly on the back teeth that are closest to the jaw joint.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of TMJ disorder, it is important to seek professional care. With treatment, patients can restore oral functions and alleviate pain. To learn more about the TMJ treatment that is offered by Dr. Jon Marc Van Slate, send us a message at your earliest convenience or call (713) 783-1993.