6 Signs You May Have a TMJ Disorder

By Dr. James Forester | Feb 28, 2022 | TMJ Treatment
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Does your jaw ever feel tight or sore? Do your ears ring for seemingly no reason? Do you find yourself grinding your teeth frequently?

These are just a few of many signs you may have a TMJ disorder, also referred to as TMD.

Your temporomandibular joint is located just in front of your ear, and is largely responsible for the opening and closing of your jaw. When this joint becomes dislocated or is rendered immobile in some way, shape, or form it can be a painful, miserable problem to deal with.

At Lifetime Smiles, Dr. Jim Forester has over 20 years of experience helping patients in the Johns Creek area with their TMJ problems. So, if you’ve already visited a general practitioner or ENT, and still haven’t gotten relief from one or more of the following symptoms, it may be time to book your appointment with Dr. Forester.

Are you experiencing any of the following signs of TMJ disorder?

Symptoms associated with TMJ vary widely depending on the individual. However, we’ve narrowed it down to a list of 6 common signs and symptoms our TMD patients typically experience when they come in for their TMJ appointment.

1: Headaches

Headaches obviously have many causes; one of which is TMJ disorder. Typically, headaches associated with TMJ will often radiate down into your jaw region and may feel very much like a tension headache.

In addition to this feeling, there are many cases where patients have also suffered from migraine headaches for years before discovering that a dysfunction of the TMJ was the primary contributor to the headache.

Frequent headaches are not something to be taken lightly and it’s important to make sure there are no underlying neurological problems that are causing your headaches.

If you have frequent headaches (a few times a week) that just won’t go away or that get worse over time, contact your primary care provider (PCP). He or she may want to send you for testing to rule out medical issues.

If there’s no underlying medical issue AND you’re experiencing other TMJ symptoms, call our dentist in Johns Creek. Dr. Forester will speak with you about your headaches and symptoms to determine if a TMJ disorder exists.

2: Bruxism (teeth grinding)

Millions of people grind their teeth and don’t even realize it. A lot of patients who suffer from TMJ tell us they catch themselves grinding their teeth during the day, subconsciously.

In addition to teeth grinding when a patient is awake, a more frequent issue is teeth grinding that occurs while sleeping. The most common symptom of nighttime bruxism is waking up with a headache nearly every morning.

Also, you may catch yourself clenching your teeth throughout the day, especially during times of high stress or emotional trauma. Clenching your teeth can negatively impact the condition of your teeth, as well as contribute to headaches and jaw soreness.

If you grind and/or clench your teeth during the day or at night while sleeping, keep an eye on it. If it happens frequently (a few times per week), call Lifetime Smiles in Johns Creek for a TMJ evaluation appointment.

3: Sore jaw that makes a popping or clicking sound and seems out of alignment

Do you ever find yourself sitting there opening and closing your jaw while hearing a frequent clicking or popping sound? Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t normal; it is a condition that should be evaluated by a qualified TMJ dentist.

So if you find yourself opening or closing your mouth while hearing that annoying, worrisome clicking and popping sound, it’s time to give our office a call to schedule your TMJ evaluation.

4: Blurry vision

Seeing a dentist for blurry vision…really? Obviously, if you’re experiencing just blurry vision, your first option would be to see an eye care professional.

However, if you are experiencing blurry vision along with other TMJ symptoms and haven’t seen an improvement in your vision after seeing an eye doctor, then it’s something to consider.

Since TMJ disorder can cause headaches, headaches can in turn be a contributing factor to your vision problems.

As you can see, TMJ is a complex disorder that can trigger a chain of interconnected symptoms that can be difficult to pinpoint and diagnose (which is why it’s so important to see a well-qualified, experienced TMJ dentist).

5: Unresolved sore throat issues or trouble swallowing

Have you ever had a nagging sore throat that just won’t go away? How about trouble swallowing? Have you been to your general practitioner and possibly even an ENT doctor, but they can’t seem to figure out the problem?

As you know by now, TMJ disorder symptoms vary depending on the individual, but in addition to headaches, jaw pain, ear pain, blurry vision, and many other problems that are present for TMJ sufferers, a sore throat is also a common complaint.

If you have had a chronic sore throat or swallowing troubles, along with any other symptoms on this list, it may be time to consider booking your TMJ evaluation at our Johns Creek office.

6: Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

Sometimes the cause of tinnitus is a mystery and other times it has an obvious cause, such as prolonged exposure to loud music or firing a gun without any ear protection.

In the case of TMJ sufferers, tinnitus may not have an identifiable root cause, but when combined with other symptoms, can be linked back to TMJ. So, if you’re suffering from a mysterious ringing in your ears, it could be a sign that you have some form of dysfunction within your temporomandibular joint.

If you have tinnitus, it’s best to check with your primary care provider (PCP) to see if he/she wants to order further testing (i.e. a hearing test, etc). You may also need to see an ENT doctor about ringing in the ears.

If ringing in the ears doesn’t go away AND you’re experiencing other TMJ symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with our dentist if you live in the Johns Creek area.

Dr. Forester can evaluate your symptoms and speak with you about possible TMJ disorders and treatment options. You don’t have to suffer with ringing in the ears. Find out what’s causing tinnitus and seek treatment today!

If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it’s time to visit a dentist who can treat your TMJ disorder

Whether your TMJ symptoms are something new or you’ve been battling these issues for years, we can help. Thomas Edison once stated, “When you think you’ve exhausted all possibilities, remember this–you haven’t.”

Just because you haven’t been able to find relief for your TMJ symptoms doesn’t mean it can’t be done. At Lifetime Smiles, Dr. Forester routinely sees patients who are suffering from these symptoms. He provides the treatment and relief they need.

If you’re in or around the Johns Creek or Alpharetta area and are suffering from TMJ disorder, we’d love to help you find relief. To get started, simply visit this page and fill out the contact form. We will be in touch shortly!