Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) refer to a group of conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the muscles, nerves, and surrounding structures in the jaw and face. The TMJ is the joint that connects your jawbone (mandible) to the skull's temporal bones in front of your ears. It allows you to open and close your mouth, facilitating actions like chewing, speaking, and yawning.
So how do you know if you have a TMJ disorder, and what are the signs? A TMJ disorder is best diagnosed by a professional dentist who can evaluate your symptoms and discuss treatment. Here are some reasons to consider a consultation right away.
How Do I Know if I Have TMJ and What Are the Signs?
Dr. Mojgan Mazhari of Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio details some of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorders, frequently referred to as simply TMJ.
Jaw Clicks and Pops
“One of the most common signs that a person has an issue with their TMJ is a cracking, clicking, or popping noise in the jaw,” she explains in this article. “This noise is most commonly heard when opening or closing your mouth, such as when speaking or chewing.” These noises are not only aggravating but also present some discomfort.
“People who suffer from a TMJ disorder commonly have jaw pain or other pain that radiates tension throughout their head, neck, and in some cases, even the shoulders and back,” Dr. Mazhari says. “When the joint isn’t able to function properly, the jaw muscles surrounding the joint can become tense and sore.”
Other Medical Problems
If you have issues that seemingly have no other cause, it’s possible a TMJ disorder is to blame. Common medical problems associated with TMD include, but aren’t limited to:
- Chronic ear pain or infections
- Ringing in the ears
- Bruxism or teeth grinding