Warning Signs of TMJ Question and Answers
If you are showing signs and symptoms of TMJ, rush to Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ in El Paso, TX for a proper diagnosis and comprehensive treatment. For more information, call us or book an online appointment.
The temporomandibular joint, often abbreviated to TMJ, is a complex joint that connects the mandible (jawbone) to the base of the skull. The most intricate and delicate of all joints in the human body, the TMJ can sometimes cause problems, such as pain, a popping or clicking sound, as well as a grating feeling when moving the jaw. Warning signs include: clicking or popping noises when opening and closing the mouth; a dull ache in the muscles around the jaw; pain or tenderness in the jaw joint; and pain affecting the joint that gets worse throughout the day.
What are the beginning signs of TMJ?
The beginning symptoms or early warning signs of TMJ can vary from person to person, but often start out as mild, such as pops or clicks, or seemingly unrelated, such as morning headaches. They include:
- Pain in the Jaw Area — One of the earliest and most obvious signs that something is wrong with the TMJ is pain in the jaw area. It may manifest in the morning or when waking up, and cause pain in the forehead, in the neck, around the eyes, and in the area in front of the ears.
- Popping or Clicking Sounds — Another early warning sign of TMJ disorder is popping or clicking noises in the jaw when opening or closing the mouth. The clicking and popping noise is due to the displacement of a cartilage disc inside the joint. When closing the mouth, the disc slips forward, and then slips back into position when opening the jaw. A clicking or popping sound may also be audible when opening the mouth too wide. Although clicking and popping are a major symptom of TMJ disorder, by itself it is usually not too serious. The noise can often be attributed to hyperextending the lower jaw too far.
- Frequent Headaches and Migraines — If a headache is present upon waking up almost every morning or if different headache remedies do not work, it may be due to TMJ. Since the face has muscles that run alongside the temporomandibular joint, frequent headaches and migraines are common symptoms of TMJ disorder. When these muscles and the jaw tense up, the pain can spread throughout the face from the sides to the top of the head, resulting in a headache or migraine.
What are the symptoms of TMJ?
The most common symptoms of TMJ include:
- Clicking and Popping Sounds
- Locked Jaw
- Jaw Pain
- Facial Pain
- Shoulder and Neck Pain
- Changes to Teeth
When should you seek a professional?
It is recommended to seek professional medical care for TMJ when experiencing the following symptoms:
- Pain that lasts longer than a week
- Pain that worsens with home care
- Pain that resolves but then reoccurs
- If the jaw becomes locked
- Severe pain
- Pain that interferes with daily life
- Pain that interferes with quality of sleep
How can I test for TMJ?
To test for TMJ, a doctor or dentist will often perform a physical exam. This includes physically evaluating the jaw and listening to any abnormal popping, clicking or grating sounds. They will also ask the patient if there is any discomfort, tenderness or pain present when pressing on certain areas of the joint. In some cases, they may also order diagnostic tests to assist in the diagnosis.
If you are experiencing the early warning signs of TMJ disorder, come to Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders for prompt and professional care! By treating TMJ disorder early on, you significantly lower the risk of developing complications. Call us today at (915) 301-8387 to book an appointment with our TMJ doctor, or visit our clinic conveniently located at 6901 Helen of Troy, Ste D-2, El Paso, TX 79911. We serve patients from El Paso TX, Fort Bliss TX, Canutillo TX, Vinton TX, and Northeast El Paso TX.