Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

  • Jaw clicking and popping: One of the most common symptoms of TMJ is when you open your mouth to yawn, eat, or laugh, do you hear a sound in your ears? Many people describe it as clicking or popping, but you might hear grinding.
  • Jaw pain: Your jaw pain might start as it feeling tired, but after time, it’ll escalate to a dull ache that doesn’t go away.
  • Facial pain: Facial pain from TMJ is often referred pain. The tissues around your jaw joint are inflamed and causing you to feel pain in parts of your face.
  • Neck and shoulder pain: The muscles in your jaw are strong, and when they’re inflamed or in constant use, they can pull on your neck. It’s not uncommon for people to feel shoulder and back pain from TMJ.
  • Headaches and migraines: Headaches and migraines can become chronic with TMJ. Your off-balance jaw joint interferes with your trigeminal nerve and swells blood vessels in your head.
  • Ear pain, congestion, and ringing: Do you find it odd that TMJ disorder causes so many ear symptoms? Your jaw joint sits just below your ears, and inflammation can pull on your inner ear, causing pain, congestion, and ringing.
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing: It’s a no-brainer that when your jaw hurts, it will hurt to use it.
  • Locked jaw: Locked jaw is an alarming condition where your jaw locks in an open or closed position. Seek help from your Des Moines TMJ dentist immediately so your jaw doesn’t become damaged.
  • Dizziness or vertigo: Dizziness and vertigo are ear symptoms. The tubes in your ears that control balance can become blocked because of TMJ.
  • Tingling in the arms and fingers: All the nerves in your body are connected. Long-term pinching on nerves in your jaw can result in tingling or numbness in your arms and fingers.
  • Clenching and grinding your teeth (bruxism): When your jaw is stressed, you begin to tighten the muscle. You’ll know you’re clenching and grinding if you see lots of tooth wear and damage.

Don’t Allow TMJ to Go Untreated, Look Out For These Signs

TMJ may start as a mild annoyance, but it will progress to be debilitating. If you leave your TMJ untreated, you could open yourself up to consequences you weren’t anticipating.

  • Jaw joint damage
  • Hearing loss
  • Workplace accidents due to vertigo
  • Chronic and referred pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Suffering dental health
  • Malnutrition

adult man holding his ear in pain, symptoms of TMJ

What Causes TMJ?

TMJ can be caused by a few different things: jaw trauma, arthritis, dislocation, bruxism, stress, or an improper bite.

If your TMJ is caused by trauma, it may resolve as your injuries heal. On the other hand, TMJ caused by arthritis might be with you for the rest of your life as there is no cure for arthritis. Luckily, a TMJ dentist can help your TMJ if it’s from dislocation, bruxism, stress, or an improper bite.

Dislocation: Your jaw may become dislocated due to trauma or long-term TMJ. In this case, your joint won’t be able to slip back into place, and you could experience a locked jaw and a degenerating joint.

Bruxism: Grinding your teeth can cause TMJ and be a symptom. When your TMJ is caused by bruxism, your joint becomes inflamed due to overuse and causes painful symptoms.

Stress: Many people clench or strain their jaw when stressed, which can create a habit that you aren’t aware of until your jaw hurts and you have a headache.

Improper Bite: In most cases of TMJ, it’s an issue of an imbalance bite. But there doesn’t need to be a stressor like dislocation or bruxism to cause it. You might have been born with an improper bite, lost teeth, or had orthodontics that moved your jaw into the wrong position.

Treat Your TMJ, Not Just the Symptoms

In Des Moines, IA, you can get treatment for your TMJ that lasts a lifetime. Dr. Douglas pick is the top TMJ dentist in Iowa and will treat the root of the problem, not just the symptoms. Maybe you’ve tried other treatments before and lost hope, or this is your first time seeking treatment for TMJ. Either way, choose Dr. Pick at Iowa Sleep & TMJ by calling (515) 222-0505 today. His extensive experience and postdoctoral training make him the best TMJ dentist around.