TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge that allows your jaw to open and close. A temporomandibular disorder or dysfunction, shortened as TMD, can lead to difficulty in your daily life like trouble chewing and constant pain.
The TMJ is a complex area and it isn’t fully understood why or how many symptoms come to be, but various treatment methods are shown to be effective.
Learn more about the signs and symptoms of TMD below, and whether you should seek treatment.
One of the most common and noticeable symptoms of a TMJ disorder is audible clicking and popping. With TMD, this noise often happens when you chew, yawn, or speak.
Popping can indicate that your TMJ needs treatment but if you feel no pain alongside these noises, it may not be a serious issue. You can still benefit from asking our team about the noise for peace of mind.
When your jaw joint is out of place, you can have difficulty opening your mouth due to pain. You may feel aching and tenderness in your face.
Tension can cause symptoms of TMD to appear, so if you hold a lot of tension in your jaw, neck, and shoulders, they can start to ache. Exercises designed to work on relaxing your muscles can help on their own or alongside additional treatment methods.
Your jaw may feel uncomfortable as you chew, as if your teeth don’t fit together. Your teeth may feel misaligned and cause discomfort. This can lead to issues while you’re eating, and turn you away from eating the things you love.
A TMJ disorder can lead to tinnitus and difficulty hearing, or make existing issues worse. The chewing muscles on both sides of your face are close to the muscles that affect your hearing. If there’s a problem in this complex area, your ears may be affected.
Treatment for TMD can help you regain your hearing and ease tinnitus. Even if TMD isn’t the sole cause of your ear issues, it can relieve some of the symptoms.
The effects of constant tension and a misaligned jaw joint can lead to headaches and earaches.
Constant headaches are not necessarily related to TMD, but they can be. If you experience other symptoms alongside headaches, you can find relief with TMD treatment.
One of the most common causes of TMD is tension in the jaw. If you tense your jaw muscles often, your muscles may become tired. If your face feels tired, you could be tensing your jaw too much.
Tensing your muscles constantly can lead to muscle spasms. If you experience muscle spasms, we can work with you to help relax the muscles in your face.
If left untreated, your TMD could become worse and cause additional symptoms. Most treatments are aimed to be minimally invasive and surgery is reserved for rare cases.
There are many types of treatments if you have issues with your TMJ, so there’s bound to be one that suits you. Treatments can include physical therapy to relax and strengthen your jaw muscles, medications to relieve pain, mouth guards, and in the most severe cases, surgery.
To determine which type of treatment is best for you, talking with Dr. Alfano is crucial. He can fully examine your jaw and listen to your concerns, as well as show you exercises to help and prescribe a treatment method.
If you think you might have a TMD, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office. A TMJ disorder is best treated before it becomes too serious, so you can experience relief without undergoing an invasive and expensive procedure.