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3 Tell-Tale Symptoms of TMJ
TMJ is a collective term that is used to refer to any disorder of the temporomandibular joints of the jaw. These ball-and-socket joints are located immediately in front of both of your ears. Pain or discomfort related to the temporomandibular joints can affect the entire vicinity of the jaw or face. There are several physical components that can be affected by TMJ problems, including joint cartilage, the teeth, and the nearby jaw or neck muscles and ligaments.
It is not well understood what causes TMJ disorders, although there are a few common suspects. A dental condition called malocclusion, in which your teeth do not evenly contact each other when you chew, could be one cause of TMJ. In some cases, TMJ disorders can be brought on by excessive grinding of the teeth as a result of stress. Other types of bodily stress can also contribute to TMJ, such as poor posture related to frequent computer use. TMJ disorders are sometimes caused by an acute injury to the jaw joint or a life-long congenital bone structure problem.
The following three symptoms are classic indicators of a TMJ disorder. If you have this type of disorder, you may experience one or more of these symptoms. If you suspect that you might be suffering from TMJ, see your dentist or doctor for a physical examination of the affected areas.
Pain in the Jaw, Ear, or Face
A problem in the temporomandibular joint can create pain that is located directly within that joint. However, you might also experience referred pain, including aching of one side of the face, an earache with no related infection, or a headache. Your face might also swell in the area near the joint.
Tightness or Locking of Jaw Joint
One of the classic signs of a TMJ disorder is a sense of the jaw joint being locked or stiff. This sensation makes it hard to close or open your mouth. It is most noticeable when you chew your food, yawn, or speak out loud.
Grating or Clicking in the Jaw Joint
It’s not unusual for people with a TMJ disorder to experience a grating feeling or to hear a clicking sound in the jaw joint while chewing. However, it’s rare for a TMJ disorder to occur without also causing some type of pain or joint locking. If you experience clicking or grating without additional symptoms, consult your dentist or doctor about other potential causes.
Peter Wendt is a freelance writer living in Texas who has suffered from TMJ for most of his life. If you suffer from some of the symptoms mentioned in this article, Peter highly recommends visiting a TMJ Specialist today to help alleviate your pain.