Do You Have TMJ/TMD? Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

June 27, 2024

Are you constantly plagued by headaches, jaw pain, or difficulty chewing? These could be signs of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, commonly known as TMJ or TMD. This condition, while common, often goes undiagnosed due to the variety of symptoms that can mimic other conditions. Here's what you need to know about TMJ and the symptoms you should never ignore.

Understanding TMJ Disorders

TMJ refers to the two temporomandibular joints that connect your jawbone to your skull. These joints are critical for basic functions like speaking and eating. When these joints are damaged or stressed, it can lead to a host of uncomfortable and even painful symptoms. 

  • Persistent jaw pain or tenderness
  • Difficulty or discomfort while chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth

Common Causes of TMJ

While the exact cause of TMJ Disorders is often hard to pinpoint, several factors can contribute to the tightening of the jaw muscles and the resulting discomfort. These can include:

  • Grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
  • Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
  • Arthritis in the jaw joint
  • Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth

How Is TMD Diagnosed?

Diagnosing TMD can be tricky due to the range of symptoms that can mimic other conditions. However, a thorough examination by a dental professional can help determine if you have this disorder. 

  • Physical examination: Your dentist will check your jaw for pain or tenderness and listen for clicks or pops during movement. 
  • Dental X-rays: These can provide a detailed image of your teeth and jaw to help identify any issues.
  • CT scan: This can provide detailed images of the bones in the joint.
  • MRI: This can reveal problems with the joint's soft tissues.

Treatment Options for TMJ Disorders

TMJ treatment aims to relieve symptoms and improve function. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your dentist may recommend a range of treatments.

  • Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories: For many people, short-term use of over-the-counter pain medicines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may provide temporary relief.
  • Oral splints or mouth guards: These are often used for people who grind or clench their teeth.
  • Physical therapy: This includes exercises to stretch and strengthen jaw muscles.
  • Counseling: This can help you understand the factors and behaviors that may aggravate your pain, so you can avoid them.

Don't Ignore the Symptoms!

Ignoring TMJ symptoms can lead to worsening pain and complications. If you're experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, it's important to seek professional help. 

  • Early intervention can prevent the progression of the disorder.
  • Treatment can alleviate pain and discomfort.
  • Regular check-ups can help monitor the condition and adjust treatment as necessary.

Ready to Address Your TMJ Symptoms in Bend, OR?

Don't let TMJ symptoms disrupt your life. If you're in Bend, OR, and suspect you may have TMJ, don't hesitate to reach out to Breathe Deep Dental. Dr. Sophie Diepenheim and her team are ready to provide the care you need. Call us today at (541) 419-7920 to request an appointment.