Your teeth and gums are a major focus of your hygiene routine and general dental care. However, your jaw’s bones, joints, and muscles are also vital to your smile’s integrity and your bite’s ability to function. Like tooth decay and gum disease, jaw dysfunctions can also disrupt your good oral health, and place other elements of your smile at risk, too.
Commonly referred to as TMJ disorder, issues that affect your jaw’s joints (TMJs) can lead to a host of different symptoms, including chronic headaches, jaw and facial pain, and difficulty opening and closing your mouth. Today, we explore much of what you need to know about TMJ disorder, including the symptoms that could warn you of its presence.
What does TMJ mean?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, and TMJ disorder can refer to any of a number of issues that affect one or both of your TMJs. Located in front of each ear, your TMJs connect your lower jaw to the rest of your skull, and allow your jaw to open, close, and move around as needed.
What are TMJ Disorder’s Symptoms?
There are several conditions that can be considered TMJ disorder, such as damaged joints, misaligned joint disks, arthritis, and more. In most cases, however, the symptoms of TMJ disorder remain the same, and can include:
- Popping and clicking sensations when you open and close your mouth
- Painful or tender muscles in the jaw and face
- Pain and ringing in one or both ears (also known as tinnitus)
- Difficulty biting and chewing
- Occasional locked jaw
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- And more