Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a disorder that occurs in the temporomandibular joint—the joint that connects the skull to the jaw. When the joint becomes damaged or injured, it can lead to TMD and painful symptoms. It’s important to recognize the symptoms so you can receive the needed treatment to manage the painful symptoms. To help you seek care sooner than later, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 signs you might have a TMJ disorder. If you recognize having any of these symptoms, we highly encourage you to schedule a consultation with one of our TMJ dentists, Dr. Larry Pribyl and Dr. Jim Kleoppel at Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea in Lee’s Summit, MO.

1. Frequent Headaches or Migraines

woman ins big yellow sweater suffering from a headache

Waking up with a migraine or headache every morning is not normal and is usually a sign that something else is going on. One of the causes of frequent headaches and migraines is actually TMD. In fact, nearly 40% of patients diagnosed with TMD suffer from frequent migraines and headaches. If you find yourself suffering from migraines and headaches several times a week, it might be a good idea to schedule an appointment with a TMJ dentist to receive an evaluation.

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2. Popping or Clicking Sounds

When you open or close your mouth, do you hear a popping or clicking sound in your jaw? If so, this is another sign you might have a TMJ disorder. The popping and clicking noise is actually the sound of the disc inside the TM joint shifting out of position. 

3. Worn, Cracked, or Broken Teeth

When the jaw joints, muscles, and teeth do not work in harmony, an imbalance occurs in the bite. When your top and bottom teeth come together, the misalignment can cause excessive pressure on certain teeth which can cause worn, cracked, or broken teeth. In addition, patients with TMJ disorders also tend to clench or grind their teeth, which can also lead to worn, cracked, or broken teeth. If you visit your dentist regularly for cleanings, they will usually tell you if they see signs of wear from clenching and grinding. 

4. Tinnitus, Clogged Ears, or Ear Pain

Since the TM joint resides adjacent to the ears, it’s common to experience many TMJ symptoms in the ears. Patients can experience ear pain or clogged ears that they might pass off as an ear infection or allergies but is actually from TMD. TMD can also cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears from nerve irritation). If your ears regularly have pain, stuffiness, or ringing, it’s best to get examined for TMJ.

5. Jaw, Neck, Shoulder, Head Pain

The last common signs you have a TMJ disorder is pain in various locations in your body. Most patients will experience pain in their jaw and on their head, specifically in their temples, but it can also occur in the shoulders and neck. Patients might even feel sinus or eye pain and pressure. The pain travels to all these different locations because the TM joint is located near all of the nerves that connect to these different areas. The muscles in the face are also all connected to the muscles in the neck and shoulders. When the TM joint isn’t working correctly, pain can have a domino effect throughout your body.

Get TMJ Treatment in Lee’s Summit, MO

Now that you know about some of the biggest symptoms of TMJ disorders, you can contact our TMJ dentists in Lee’s Summit for an evaluation if you notice any symptoms. Please call (816) 795-1000 today to schedule a consultation for TMJ treatment. If we do diagnose you, we will create a custom treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms. 

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