Common Signs of a Hidden TMJ Problem

TMJThe TMJ disorder is one of the most commonly overlooked dental conditions of our time. This is mainly due to the fact that the TMJ (jaw joint) is related to a series of muscle networks and also the supporting structures of the teeth—areas that can’t be easily seen with the naked eye. Unfortunately, the symptoms of the disorder can vary significantly and the related problems can take quite a while to become clear unless you partner with a dentist in Saint Charles.

If a TMJ problem does exist, you can help your dentist to uncover the problem by keeping a lookout for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Very flat, short, or chipped front teeth
  • Broken fillings and/crowns
  • Receding gums
  • Tightness and/or pain in one or both jaw joints
  • Occasionally sensitive teeth (sensitive to temperatures or biting pressure)
  • Morning headaches
  • Popping or clicking (with or without sound) when the mouth opens or closes
  • Lockjaw sensation when opening very wide
  • A habit of gritting, grinding, or clenching the teeth together (day or night)

A person who suffers from TMJ disorder may experience one or more of these symptoms at any given time, and the severity of these symptoms can also vary widely. These are the factors which make the condition so mysterious.

Fortunately, most TMJ cases can be treated in a conservative manner (without surgery). To manage the condition, it is often necessary to protect the jaw joints, teeth, and muscles from trauma. A custom fitted bite guard, also known as an occlusal guard, can generally be very effective. When prescribed and fabricated by a dentist, these removable bite appliances will prevent the teeth from coming together too forcefully while also relieving the strain on the muscles and joints.

It is also helpful to repair damaged teeth or replacing missing teeth, as these issues can create additional strain on the jaw joint. One-sided chewing or an uneven bite pattern can aggravate an existing TMJ problem.

For more help in uncovering your TMJ problem, contact a dentist in Saint Charles today.