Your temporomandibular joints (TMJs) connect your lower your jaw to your skull and may often sit incorrectly. When they do, your jaw must work extra hard to keep your mouth straight as you bite, chew, and speak. The extra work can fatigue your jaw’s muscles and TMJs, resulting in discomfort in your ears, face, head, shoulders, neck, and jaws. Because these symptoms are shared by many other maladies, as well, TMJ disorder is often misdiagnosed, or not diagnosed at all. To help determine if your chronic aches and pains are TMJ related, we explain a few ways you can test your likelihood of TMJ disorder at home, before you schedule a dental visit.
TMJ-Related Aches and Pains
Though TMJ-associated discomfort can be misleading, there are a few telltale signs that indicate the improper alignment and function of your jaw. If you notice the following symptoms, then you may need personalized dental treatment;
- Jaw popping and clicking—As joints, your TMJs are designed to move around smoothly within its socket. If the joints are misaligned, you may notice that your jaw pops and clicks as you open and close your mouth. Sometimes, the disturbance may be no more than an annoyance, but in some cases, the popping can be severe enough to hurt whenever your mouth operates.
- A crooked jaw—Jaw misalignment is not typically visible to the casual observer, but that does not mean it is undetectable, even if popping and clicking isn’t present. Try standing in front of a mirror and watching as you slowly opening then closing your mouth from a restful position. If your jaw moves to the side as it opens and closes, it is likely misaligned and the extra movement could be overtaxing your jaw muscles and joints.
- Bruxism—Occasionally grinding your teeth is a natural response to stressful situations. Habitually grinding your teeth, however, is a condition known as bruxism, and is often accompanied by TMJ disorder. The additional stress of continuous grinding and clenching can damage your jaw and lead to sometimes-debilitating discomfort, not to mention excessive wear and damage to your teeth.
Let Your Dentist Test for TMJ Disorder
To find out if you have TMJ disorder and require appropriate treatment, then schedule a consultation with your dentist by calling Just Wright Dental in Corsicana, TX, today by calling (903) 225-2221. We also proudly welcome patients from Waxahachie, Mildred, Eureka, Ennis, Fairfield, Teague, Blooming Grove, Dawson, Hubbard, Hillsboro, Mexia, Groesbeck, Kerens, Malakoff, Rice, Centerville, Buffalo, and Athens.