TMJ is more than a sore jaw. But like most chronic headaches and facial pain, a lot of people dismiss TMJ as temporary or not particularly serious. If you frequently experience pain or tension when you’re moving your mouth and neck, be sure to see a doctor or dentist who specializes in the temporomandibular joints, or the joints behind TMJ. While the symptoms may start as pain or stiffness, they can rapidly escalate.

Untreated TMJ can interfere with your performance during work hours.

Jaw pain generally strikes at night or in the early morning, especially if you have an unconscious habit of grinding your teeth in your sleep. But TMJ symptoms can persist throughout the day. In fact, you are more likely to feel stronger jaw pain and sensitivity in the morning and late afternoons. This can interfere with meetings, focus on your screen, and phone calls. If you have more severe TMJ symptoms, including difficulty opening and closing your mouth, headaches, and jaw pain after eating, it can severely impact your work.

If you have a more physical job, TMJ can even stop you from easily lifting heavy objects. People tend to tense their jaw while lifting and lowering bulky items, and that causes additional stress.

TMJ can make you worry about your teeth.

TMJ is a dental issue, but it doesn’t deal with your teeth specifically. Some instances of TMJ are caused by a past jaw injury or a misaligned bit that makes you shift your jaw around misfitting teeth. But TMJ can also be caused by arthritis and stress. If your teeth are suddenly sensitive but there are no underlying dental issues, make sure to ask about TMJ. Worrying about unresolved health issues and dental problems will increase your stress and potentially worsen the condition.

TMJ can be a bit hard to pin down, but significant jaw pain and headaches are significant. Go to Exquisite Smiles and schedule an appointment if your jaw pain continues.