How Can You Tell if You Have TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder, which affects the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) that connect your lower jaw to your skull, can make opening and closing your mouth difficult and lead to a host of dental problems. The trouble with TMJ disorder, besides its discomfort, is its wide variety of symptoms that can make the condition difficult to diagnosis. Some patients may endure their chronic aches and pains for years before discovering that they originate with a dental problem. While an accurate diagnosis requires a comprehensive examination, we offer a few tips to help you determine if you have TMJ disorder.

Listen if your jaw makes noise.

Other than a direct injury, TMJ disorder can often result from an imbalanced bite, which can itself result from a number of different issues. As a result of this imbalance, patients with TMJ disorder often experience popping and clicking as their jaws try to force their mouths straight when they open and close. If your jaw pops when it moves, it’s likely a victim of TMJ disorder.

Pay attention when your jaw moves.

When you’re stressed, angry, or otherwise agitated, your body often manifests this stress as tension in your muscles, including those that control your jaw. The sudden clench can cause your teeth to grind together, and patients often don’t notice the act. When teeth-grinding is habitual, it’s called bruxism, and it often indicates the presence of discomfort from an uneven jaw.

Watch how your jaw moves.

A healthy, properly aligned jaw glides smoothly along its joints, both sides moving in tandem to operate your lower jaw. When your jaw’s not properly aligned, it will have to situate itself as it moves to allow movement. Stand in front of a mirror and slowly open and close your jaw from a restful position. If you notice your jaw move to the side as it opens and closes, then it is likely misaligned and suffering from TMJ disorder.

Find Out if You Need Treatment for TMJ Disorder

If your jaw has trouble functioning or causes you increasing discomfort, then find out if you have TMJ disorder with a careful examination by your dentist. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, at 847-234-0517. We also proudly serve residents of Lake Forest and all surrounding communities.

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