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TMJ DISORDERS: SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

Craniofacial pain and TMJ disorders can be difficult to diagnose because the signs and symptoms, which often vary from one patient to the next, can mimic dozens of other disorders. That’s why TMJ disorder is often called “the great imposter."

Common signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

  • Headaches, neck aches and/or backaches
  • Non-restful sleep, dry mouth and coughing
  • Difficulty opening or closing your mouth, biting,  chewing, talking or singing
  • Clicking, popping or grating sounds when opening or closing your mouth
  • Jaw pain, stiffness or tenderness
  • Muscle spasms around the jaw joints
  • Inability to naturally rest your teeth together when your mouth is closed
  • Earaches and tinnitus (i.e., ringing in the ears)
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Teeth clenching and grinding i.e., bruxism)

Many TMJ-related symptoms are caused by the effects of physical stress on the associated muscles and structures that surround your jaw joints. For example, yawning too widely or holding your head forward while looking at a computer all day can strain your facial and neck muscles, and this can aggravate TMJ symptoms. Other factors that may make TMJ symptoms worse include poor posture, stress, poor diet and lack of sleep.

Does this sound familiar?

TMJ disorders are common, but they can be challenging to diagnose because of the complex anatomy of the temporomandibular joint as well as the arrangement of nerves and distribution of nerve impulses to the head, face and neck. If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of a TMJ disorder, and/or you are not getting the results you and your doctor anticipated from your current treatment, please contact us.

We are happy to provide you with more information about craniofacial pain and TMJ disorders, which can often be perplexing health issues.

Tips for Relieving Jaw Pain

While they cannot replace diagnosis and treatment by a qualified dentist, here are a few things you can do to relieve jaw joint pain:

  • Eat soft foods such as oatmeal, yogurt and soups to let your jaw joint rest.
  • Do not chew gum.
  • Apply ice immediately after a TMJ injury to decrease pain and swelling.
  • Use moist heat to relax tight jaw muscles and increase blood flow.
  • Do not yawn too widely or rest the phone on your jaw while talking; both of these actions can put added stress on your jaw joints.
  • If you need to be at a computer for long periods, make sure your monitor is at eye level and that you have a healthy, ergonomic workspace. (You might also want to set a timer to help you remember to take short breaks and move around a bit).
1401 Hospital Drive, Suite 102, Hurricane, WV 25526 USA
Jeanne K. Bailey, DDS Sleep, TMJ and Craniofacial Pain Treatment Center in West Virginia (304) 757-7428 (304) 757-3535 wvsleepandtmj@frontier.com