Most people experience jaw pain from time to time. This tends to be passing pain, like when you yawn a little too widely or take too large of a bite, or have dental work done. However, for some people, the pain can be long-lasting and can radiate around the head, causing misery. Women are more prone to having jaw pain, making up approximately 70% of the people affected. While everyone will experience TMJ differently, some of the more common TMJ symptoms include the following:
1. Popping And Clicking Jaw
When you open your jaw wide, if you notice any popping or clicking around the jaw, you may be suffering from TMJ; even if this is your only symptom and does not require treatment, you should inform your dentist on your next visit and prevent it from worsening.
2. Jaw Pain
If you grind your teeth, you may end up having an uneven bite, and if your teeth are not aligned, your jaw will automatically try to compensate for the misalignment. This automatic compensation can lead to overextending on one side and over-taxing the muscles connecting your jaw and skull. When this happens, pain can become present when chewing or opening the jaw widely in a yawn or even while talking.
3. Pain In General
Sometimes the pain caused by TMJ can manifest elsewhere. Headaches and pains in the neck are common, the shoulder can also manifest this pain, and in some cases, the patient might feel toothaches that are, in fact, caused by the jaw.
4. Muscle Fatigue
If you are constantly compensating for unaligned teeth, the muscles in your jaw are likely working overtime and, as such, tired. If you notice that one side of your face feels tired, consult your dentist.
5. Increased Chewing Effort
If chewing is becoming difficult, if you need to exert more effort to eat, it could be due to a misalignment. You should check your alignment in the mirror and see if you have to strain to keep it straight. If you notice any swelling in your face, you may have over-taxed your muscles resulting in inflammation. If any of these symptoms are ever-present, you should consult with your Plano dentist right away and address them right away.
Other symptoms are not as obvious, and you may miss them. For example, becoming dizzy and having trouble sleeping are common side effects of TMJ. Ear pain and blurry vision can also be caused by it as well as cluster headaches and pain in your temples. If you are not sure, have your dentist give you a diagnosis.
Not Sure if You Have TMJ, Let Dr. David H. Wilhite Help You
If you have tried at-home remedies for TMJ without the results you were hoping to get and just want the problem to go away, call us for an appointment. We have extensive training in bite-related disorders and TMJ – so much so that many local general dentists refer TMJ patients to Dr. Wilhite. Do not hesitate, call now at 972-964-3774 or visit our contact page today!
Dr. Wilhite has helped hundred of patients who suffer from TMJ Disorder, migraine headaches, and tooth grinding. Frequently asked TMJ questions include “what is TMJ?” TMJ disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and the surrounding muscles. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ pain can look different for different patients. For example, some experience continuous pain, others have pain that comes and goes. Some who suffer from TMJ Disorder experience a locking, stiff jaw or experience a pop when they open and close their mouth.
Frequently asked TMJ questions: What are symptoms?
While different patients experience different symptoms, here is a list of symptoms that someone suffering from TMJ Disorder might experience:
Pain or tenderness in your jaw
Jaw clicking and popping
Pain in your jaw joints
Pain in or around your ears
Earaches or ear pain
Popping sounds in ears
Pain while chewing
Facial pain or aching
Locking of the jaw joint
Neck stiffness or aches
What are TMJ exercises for pain relief?
Because TMJ pain symptoms are different between patients, there is no universal exercise for TMJ pain relief. However, some people have found that TMJ exercises can help ease the pain. TMJ exercises work to achieve four basic goals: strengthening the jaw, stretching the temporomandibular joint, improving the mobility of the temporomandibular joint, and providing relaxation to treat stress-induced TMJ pain. Learn some of the exercises here.
Frequently asked TMJ questions: What is TMJ treatment?
Most TMJ treatment begins with the most conservative, least invasive procedures. After exercises, other options may include the NTI mouth guard device. It is used to treat appropriate cases of TMJ when the root cause is teeth grinding and clenching. Another option is using Botox injections to end TMJ pain. For those who cannot control their daytime clenching, Botox often produces good results by reducing the intensity of muscle contractions.
In this post, we review a list of 12 reasons to visit your dentist right away instead of waiting for your next annual appointment.
We hope that you are keeping up the habit of visiting your dentist at least once a year for an annual check-up.
There are so many dental problems that can be prevented by finding them early, especially serious issues like gum disease and oral cancer that can be treated if discovered as soon as possible.
In case you find your self wondering if it is necessary to see a dentist now or wait till your annual exam, here is a list of signs that we think should cause you to visit the dentist right away.
Reasons to visit a dentist right away
Pain or swelling
Gums are puffy or bleeding
You’re hiding your smile
You’ve recently had work done
Ongoing medical issues
You are pregnant
Spots or sores
Annual check-up time
Pain or swelling
If you are suffering from pain or swelling, there is no reason to put off that visit that may be scheduled for a month or longer away. Make that visit right away. Toothaches, swelling, and pain are all symptoms of issues that you should have treated right away. The sooner the better. You can end that pain and also improve your long-term health.
If your gums are puffy or bleeding when you brush, it’s time to visit the dentist. These are signs of gum disease and the sooner you can have it treated the sooner you can stop the damage. It can’t always be reversed but you can keep it from causing more serious damage.
If you are hiding your smile, that’s a sure sign that it’s time to get some work done to address the issue. Don’t hide your smile, get it fixed and start feeling great again.
You’ve recently had work done
If you have recently had fillings, crowns, dental implants or dentures, you need to follow up with your dentist as recommended for a follow up so they can make sure everything has worked out the way it should.
Ongoing medical issues
Your dental health can tie in with your overall health and each may influence each other. If you have a medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or an eating disorder, or undergoing medical treatments, you should make sure your dentist is a partner in your treatment and health. Symptoms of other health issues can show in your mouth or your gums could point to other potential health issues.
You are pregnant
If you weren’t sure, it IS safe to go to the dentist while pregnant. It is recommended you do so because pregnancy can make some dental issues worse. Make sure you schedule an appointment so that you will have one less thing to worry about.
If you are having trouble eating or drinking, do yourself a favor and schedule an appointment with your dentist. Stop living with discomfort and don’t take a chance that you’ll make your issues worse by waiting.
Sometimes dry mouth can be a symptom of another medical issue. It can also be a side effect of medications you are taking. Check with your dentist and get to the cause of this so you can find a solution.
Cigarettes and chewing tobacco can affect your dental and physical health. If you are a regular tobacco user, you should have an oral cancer screening in Plano to check for any early signs or oral cancer so it can be addressed as soon as possible.
It is time to visit the dentist if you are having jaw pain or popping when you are opening and closing your mouth, waking up in the morning or chewing. These could be symptoms of TMJ and your dentist can help you find a TMJ treatment in Plano that can work for you and ease your TMJ pain. Another reason to schedule an appointment could be an uneven bite.
If you notice a spot or a sore in your mouth that isn’t normally there and it lasts for a week or longer, you should see your dentist about it. Different types of mouth sores include canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia, and candidiasis. These can all vary in their seriousness and have different causes. Mouth sores can be the symptom of a disease or disorder. They can also be an infection from bacteria, a virus or fungus or result from irritation caused by braces, dentures or the sharp edge of a broken tooth or filling.
Annual check-up time
Have you had your annual dental check-up in Plano, TX? We sure hope so! It’s simple to schedule and will help keep your mouth healthy and contributes to your overall physical health.
Bruxism is the medical term for what is commonly known as “teeth grinding”.
Bruxism (pronounced BRUK-siz-um) is a condition in which a person grinds, gnashes or clenches their teeth. This is usually an unconscious clenching that can occur either when a person is awake (awake bruxism) or when they are asleep (sleep bruxism).
Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep disorder. People who clench or grind their teeth during sleep are likely to have other sleep disorders, including snoring and sleep apnea.
Mild bruxism may not require treatment. For some people, however, bruxism can be severe enough to lead to jaw disorders such as TMJ, headaches, damaged teeth and other more serious problems which require further treatment.
If you require bruxism treatment in Plano, please call today: (972) 964-3774
Symptoms of bruxism
Sensitivity to heat and cold
Front teeth are worn down so they are flat and even in length
A headache and aching jaws
Cracked teeth and broken fillings
Jaw, neck or face pain or soreness
It is important to know the signs of bruxism (teeth grinding) because if you have sleep bruxism, you may not even be unaware of the condition until serious complications develop.
Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.
If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, ask your doctor or dentist about options to reduce your stress. Attending stress counseling, starting an exercise program, seeing a physical therapist, or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants are among some of the options that may be offered.
If a sleeping disorder is causing the grinding, treating it may reduce or eliminate the grinding habit.
Other tips to help you stop teeth grinding include:
Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.
Avoid alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.
Do not chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food.
Avoid chewing gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.
Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.
Ready to learn more about teeth grinding treatments in Plano, Texas area?
Contact us today to set up your free TMJ consultation. Dr. Wilhite has over 30 years of experience in testing, diagnosing, and treating TMJ Disorders. He will discuss possible treatments to decide which is right for you.
Are you suffering from TMJ disorder or suspect that you may be experiencing symptoms of TMJ?
If so, it’s natural that you have some questions about TMJ, it’s causes and treatment options.
In this post, we respond to the most common TMJ questions that we frequently hear.
These are general TMJ questions and answers. They may not apply to every patient or situation. That is why we recommend you schedule a TMJ consultation with Dr. Wilhite or with your medical doctor for answers that are specific to you.
Want to learn more about bruxism treatments in Plano, TX? Schedule your consultation: (972) 964-3774
TMJ Frequently Asked Questions
What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. (Also known as TMJ Disorder, TMJ Syndrome, and TMJ Dysfunction) The temporomandibular joint acts like a sliding hinge, connecting the jawbone to the skull. Dysfunction can lead to pain and discomfort in the jaw and surrounding muscles. It can also cause headaches and migraines.
What are the symptoms of TMJ?
TMJ symptoms may include: headaches, pain or tenderness in your jaw, jaw clicking and popping, pain in your jaw joints, pain in or around your ears, earaches or ear pain, popping sounds in ears, pain while chewing, facial pain or aching, locking of the jaw joint, neck stiffness or aches.
Yes, headaches and migraines are known symptoms of TMJ disorder. TMJ pain can cause pain in the jaw and neck, which can radiate to the shoulders as well. Pain often occurs near the ears, and sometimes forehead and scalp. Sometimes TMJ headaches can be mistaken for tension headaches.
Neck pain and back pain are often included in the list of TMJ symptoms. Sometimes when you have neck pain or upper back pain and you’re not sure what is causing it, it might be caused by TMJ
Who can diagnose TMJ?
TMJ can be diagnosed by a dentist, medical doctor, an oral and maxillofacial specialist, or an otolaryngologist (also called an ear, nose, and throat doctor or ENT specialist). There is no medically designated name for a TMJ specialist. There is also no specific test for diagnosing TMJ disorder. This can often cause issues with the diagnosis of TMJ.
What causes TMJ?
The cause of TMJ symptoms is not completely understood. There are multiple factors which can contribute to TMJ. It may be caused by an injury to the jaw or face, grinding of teeth during sleep, stress, anxiety, arthritis, or excessive gum chewing.
Can TMJ be caused by stress or anxiety?
Stress is considered to be a cause of TMJ. Stress can cause many physical symptoms, TMJ pain being one of them. Stress can also cause teeth clenching and grinding, which are known to cause TMJ as well. TMJ, stress, and anxiety may all cause similar symptoms, sometimes making a diagnosis challenging.
How can I treat TMJ?
There are many potential treatments to TMJ pain, from medical treatment to home remedies. Most treatment begins with the most conservative, least invasive procedures. This would include things such as stretching exercises. Other options may include using Botox injections to end TMJ pain.
Many people who have TMJ my only experience pain temporary and sometimes the recurring pain that may go away on its own. Some people may suffer in long-term TMJ problems.
How can I relive TMJ pain?
There are home remedies you can use to relieve pain before visiting with a dentist or doctor for TMJ treatment. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen or ibuprofen, can relieve TMJ pain and swelling. Using heat packs or ice packs on the side of your face or temple area can provide relief. Stretching exercises can help some patients. A night guard may benefit people who’s TMJ is caused by jaw clenching and teeth grinding during sleep. For some patients, dental work can provide relief from TMJ.
An NTI Mouthguard created for you by your dentist can help ease TMJ pain. The mouth guard reduces the clenching force of your jaw, which minimizes the stress to your temporomandibular joint, the source of your pain.
TMJ exercises or stretching do work for some patients at easing pain or helping build up strength in the jaw. They are a good starting point for pain relief treatments because they are simple. If exercises don’t work, then you can systematically move on to other TMJ treatment methods.
Ready to learn more about TMJ treatment options in Plano, Texas area?
Contact us today to set up your TMJ consultation. Dr. Wilhite has over 30 years experience in testing, diagnosing, and treating TMJ Disorders. He will discuss possible treatments to decide which is right for you.
Live in Plano, TX and want to learn about TMJ treatments? Schedule your consultation by calling (972) 964-3774
Sometimes when the pain is caused by a jaw injury, discomfort can go away on its own with time. When the root cause of TMJ pain is less obvious, some people have found that TMJ exercises can help ease the pain.
TMJ pain symptoms are different between patients; some experience continuous pain, others have pain that comes and goes, some experience a locking, stiff jaw, or experience a popping when they open and close their mouth.
Because of the various causes of TMJ and the symptoms people experience, there is no universal exercise for TMJ pain relief.
That doesn’t mean that TMJ exercises might not work for you. They do work for some patients at easing pain or helping build up strength in the jaw. They are also a good starting place for pain relief treatments. If exercises don’t work, then you can move on to other TMJ treatment methods.
Let’s review the most common TMJ exercises and how they work. They may just help ease your pain.
Types of TMJ Exercises
The different types of TMJ exercises exist to achieve four basic goals: strengthen the jaw, stretch the temporomandibular joint, improve the mobility of the temporomandibular joint or provide relaxation to treat stress-induced TMJ pain.
Rest your tongue gently on the top of your mouth behind your upper front teeth. Allow your teeth to come apart while relaxing your jaw muscles.
Goldfish exercises (partial opening)
Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and one finger in front of your ear where your TMJ is located. Put your middle or pointer finger on your chin. Drop your lower jaw halfway and then close. There should be mild resistance but not pain. A variation of this exercise is to place one finger on each TMJ as you drop your lower jaw halfway and closed again. Do this exercise six times in one set. You should do one set six times daily.
Goldfish exercises (full opening)
Keeping your tongue on the roof of your mouth, place one finger on your TMJ and another finger on your chin. Drop your lower jaw completely and back. For a variation of this exercise, place one finger on each TMJ as you completely drop your lower jaw and back. Do this exercise six times to complete one set. You should complete one set six times daily.
With your shoulders back and chest up, pull your chin straight back, creating a “double chin.” Hold for three seconds and repeat 10 times.
A resisted opening of the mouth
Place your thumb under your chin. Open your mouth slowly, pushing gently against your chin for resistance. Hold for three to six seconds, and then close your mouth slowly.
Resisted closing of the mouth
Squeeze your chin with your index and thumb with one hand. Close your mouth as you place gently pressure on your chin. This will help strengthen your muscles that help you chew.
With your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, slowly open and close your mouth.
Side-to-side jaw movement
Put a ¼ inch object, such as stacked tongue depressors, between your front teeth, and slowly move your jaw from side to side. As the exercise becomes easier, increase the thickness of the object between your teeth by stacking them one on top of each other.
Forward jaw movement
Put a 1/4 inch object between your front teeth. Move your bottom jaw forward so your bottom teeth are in front of your top teeth. As the exercise becomes easier, increase the thickness of the object between your teeth.
These TMJ exercises are suggested by the website Healthline. Visit the article and view images showing you how to perform these TMJ exercises correctly.
TMJ Exercises & Stretches to Relieve Jaw Pain
TMJ Pain Relief with Simple Exercises & Stretches
Disclaimer: These videos are not medical advice or a treatment plan and are intended for general education and demonstration purposes only. They should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, or physical condition. Do not use these videos to avoid going to your own healthcare professional or to replace the advice they give you. Consult with your healthcare professional before doing anything contained in these videos. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless David Wilhite for any and all losses, injuries, or damages resulting from any and all claims that arise from your use or misuse of these videos.
Ready to learn TMJ Treatment Options in Plano, Texas area?
Contact us today to set up your TMJ consultation. Dr. Wilhite has over 30 years of experience in testing and diagnosing TMJ Disorders. He will discuss possible treatments to decide which is right for you.