Waking up with jaw pain can not only be uncomfortable, but it can cause distress if you are unsure whether this pain is the result of a particularly tense day at work or something more serious like TMJ Disorder. If you experience pain in your mouth and jaw frequently, then it is possible that you may have TMJ Disorder (TMD); yet, how can you know for sure? Here are a few signs that you can look out for indicating that you may have TMD.
The most common complaint amongst TMD patients is chronic pain in the jaw; however, this pain can occur in the TMJ joint, and it can radiate to the ears or down into the neck. This pain can occur at any time, however, it may be most noticeable when you are eating. Pain can be mild or severe, and it can last for days, weeks, or even months in severe cases.
Unusual TMJ Sounds
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jaw bone to the bones on both sides of your head. It essentially works like a door hinge allowing you to open and close your mouth. When problems occur with the TMJ, this can cause strange sounds to occur when you move your jaw, and in particular, when you are eating. Some patients will notice popping, crunching, or clicking sounds when their jaw moves. In fact, this is such a common symptom of TMD that some patients will experience TMJ sounds without any accompanied pain. While you may not need treatment if your TMJ makes noise without any pain, it is still important to discuss this issue with your dentist.
Limited Jaw Movement
In some cases, TMD may even result in limited jaw movement. Patients with TMD commonly find that they have difficulty opening their mouth widely (greater than 40mm) without pain. Such limited jaw movement may be the result of hyperactivity or strain of the TMJ, or it can be caused by the articular disc being displaced.
The above are a few signs that can help you to determine if your symptoms may be in line with TMD. However, if you believe that you may suffer from TMJ Disorder, it is important that you speak to a dentist as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. Contact us to learn more about TMJ Disease.