What Does TMJ Feel Like? Understanding the Symptoms
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the hinge-like joint between your upper and lower jawbones, is often the source of facial and jaw pain. Learn more about TMJ disorders and how treatment can help you find pain relief.
TMJ Disorder: What It Is
TMJ disorders are a type of temporomandibular disorder (TMD) that causes jaw pain in the joint and along the muscles that control jaw movement, as well as bruxism, or teeth clenching and grinding.
What Does TMJ Feel Like? Symptoms and Signs
Tenderness, pain, and swelling in the jaw joint are the most common symptoms.
What Causes TMJ Disorders?
TMJ disorder can be caused by arthritic damage to the cartilage in your TMJ joint, a jaw injury such as whiplash, a fall, or a blow to the face, chronic grinding or clenching of teeth, or intense anxiety or stress that causes you to tighten your jaw and facial muscles.
Am I At Risk for TMJ?
The majority of people with TMJ symptoms are between the ages of 20 and 40, and arthritis, such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, can increase the risk of developing TMJ. Age and gender also play a role in determining who is most at risk.
TMJ can cause insomnia in some patients, and if the pain prevents you from eating comfortably, it can lead to nutritional problems. There’s no need to suffer through any additional medical complications associated with TMJ because there are simple and effective treatments available through dentistry.
Clenching and grinding can result in worn-down enamel or even fractured teeth, as well as a preference for one side of your jaw over the other, resulting in asymmetrical muscle growth and swelling in the jaw area.
TMJ Treatment Through Dentistry
Mouth guards, oral splints, physical therapy, and counseling are some of the non-surgical, non-medicated treatment options for TMJ disorders. Pain relievers or anti-inflammatories are some of the most beneficial medications for TMJ disorders. Tricyclic antidepressants can be used in low doses to treat bruxism, sleeplessness, and pain relief.
Find Relief For Your TMJ Pain
Do you have constant jaw pain, or do you suspect you have this condition?
How do you know if you have TMJ or something else?
The Test: Place a finger over the joint in front of your ear while opening your jaw slightly, and then open wide until you can feel the joint move. If the joint clicks or is tender when pressed, you may have a temporomandibular joint ( TMJ ) disorder.
What can be mistaken for TMJ?
Many conditions can cause jaw pain, including nerve problems, cancer, sinus infections, and even heart disease.
Where is TMJ pain felt?
Muscle Pain u2014 Muscle pain can be felt in the cheeks (masseter muscles) and temples (temporalis muscles), which house the two large pairs of jaw-closing muscles. If you wake up with soreness and stiffness, it’s likely due to habits like clenching and/or grinding your teeth at night.
How long does a TMJ flare up last?
Acute TMJ symptoms and signs can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before disappearing once the injury or source of discomfort is resolved, whereas chronic TMJ symptoms can last for months or years, with episodes of sharp and/or dull pain occurring on a regular basis.
What causes TMJ to flare up?
Stress, which can cause jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) while you’re asleep or awake; hormonal changes, such as those caused by birth control or supplements; and hard and chewy foods, which can strain the already stressed TMJ and include foods like apples, are the most common causes of TMJ flare-ups.
How do doctors know if you have TMJ?
If you have symptoms of a TMJ disorder, your doctor may examine your jaw to see if there is swelling or tenderness. If you have symptoms of a TMJ disorder, your doctor may refer you to a dentist or an ENT specialist to diagnose your condition.
How do you permanently cure TMJ?
Having said that, there are a few ways to permanently cure TMJ:
- Custom-made splints are made to fit over your lower or upper teeth.
- Physical therapy involves joint-specific exercises.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.
Can TMJ start suddenly?
Jaw pain is particularly irritating because of its complexity and location; it can spread to the head, neck, and shoulders, interfere with everything we do all day, disrupt sleep, and cause problems at work. One of the most insidious aspects of TMJ pain is that it can appear out of nowhere.
What do TMJ headaches feel like?
The typical TMJ headache is a tight, dull aching headache that is most commonly on one side, but can be on both, and is usually worse on the side where the TMJ is worse. Jaw movement aggravates the headache, which is relieved by jaw relaxation.
Can TMJ be on one side only?
Swelling on one side of the face is not uncommon in people with TMJ, and it is most likely caused by damage and inflammation in the joint capsule. Swelling can be mild or severe, and it can appear only after using the jaw or persist even at rest.
How do I know if I have severe TMJ?
Signs and Symptoms
- Pain or tenderness in your jaw.
- Pain in one or both of your temporomandibular joints.
- Aching pain in and around your ear.
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing.
- Aching facial pain.
Can stress cause TMJ symptoms?
Physical, mental, and emotional stress can all lead to the onset of TMJ dysfunction or worsen an existing disorder. While you may notice an occasional tightness in the joint with mild popping or clicking, stress can make the symptoms more frequent and painful.
How do you get rid of TMJ fast?
Use moist heat or cold packs to relieve muscle pain and swelling. Apply an ice pack to the side of your face and temple area for about 10 minutes (if your dentist or physical therapist approves). Do a few simple jaw stretches (if your dentist or physical therapist approves).
How can I fix my TMJ without surgery?
Orthodontics, restorative dentistry, and other types of dental services are some of the other ways we treat TMJ without surgery; however, in some cases, corrective jaw surgery may be the best option.
What can a dentist do for TMJ?
In many cases, treatment from an orthodontist can relieve TMJ symptoms. If your TMJ is caused by teeth grinding or clenching, your dentist may recommend wearing a custom dental appliance, also known as a bite plate or splint, to keep your upper teeth from grinding against your lower teeth.