woman with tmj pain

TMJ Pain: Do I Have TMJ Disorder?

TMJ Pain

TMJ Pain | Are you experiencing sudden soreness, stiffness, popping, or locking in your jaw? This could be an indication that you are one of the millions of people who have TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder. This condition affects up to 12% of Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Two times as many women experience TMJ disorder as men, and it more frequently affects younger patients than older ones.

Even though TMJ Pain disorder is not life-threatening, it can still have a negative impact upon your quality of life. It is believed that TMJ disorder is most often caused by trauma and strain to the temporomandibular joints or associated muscles. Some other possible causes include bite misalignment and teeth grinding.

TMJ Pain Symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Sudden headaches
  • Restricted mouth movement
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Jaw soreness that is more intense in the morning
  • Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, or hearing loss
  • Changes in your bite or tooth enamel, such as chipping or cracking
  • Jaw popping, clicking, or locking painfully into place

The most intense type of teeth clenching normally happens during sleep when you may not be able to help it or even be aware of it. Teeth grinding or clenching can also be affected by mental health conditions, substance abuse and family history.

Furthermore, abuse of stimulants like amphetamines, and caffeine can over-activate jaw muscles, increasing the risk of developing TMJ Pain disorder. Some research has found that the abuse of amphetamines can increase a person’s risk of developing TMJ disorders by over sixfold.

TMJ Diagnosed

You can be diagnosed with TMJ disorder by medical professionals like doctors, orthodontists or a dentist. Moreover, they can reach a diagnosis by:

  • Asking you certain questions
  • Monitoring the motion of your jaws
  • Listening for jaw clicking noises
  • Identifying spots of discomfort by pressing around the jaw area
  • Through diagnostic imaging like CT scans or x-rays

Will TMJ disorder go away on its own?

In short, TMJ disorder often resolves itself on its own without any special treatment. Unfortunately, some TMJ disorder sufferers have such severe symptoms that they are left with chronic and persistent discomfort that rarely goes away without treatment.

Fortunately, most TMJ Pain disorder damage can be reversed. A 2017 study of patients with TMJ disorders and hearing loss found that 90% of study participants experienced an improvement in their hearing, with most of them experiencing a full recovery. Furthermore, if your TMJ is related to teeth grinding, occlusal mouthguards can provide prompt relief from your symptoms in as soon as five minutes.

Receiving Treatment for TMJ Pain Disorder 

Are you experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder? If so, please contact us. New patients are welcome.


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