TMJ Disorder Signs and Symptoms

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TMJ Disorder Signs and Symptoms

TMJ disorder occurs when the jaw joints become misaligned. The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) encompass the musculature and joints responsible for facilitating mouth movement. These joints are situated on both sides of the head and include a disc that cushions while enabling jaw rotation, gliding, and opening. Any impediment to the proper functioning of this intricate system of ligaments, muscles, disc, and bones is regarded as a TMJ disorder, warranting the attention of experienced professionals with expertise in this area. Rest assured, we are here to provide authoritative and trustworthy guidance.


Signs of TMJ disorder

The following are signs of TMJ disorders:


TMJ Pain

Pain is the predominant symptom encountered by patients. Typically, discomfort manifests in the masticatory muscles, but it can also manifest in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or both. Pain may persist even during periods of jaw inactivity. The intensity can range from mild to severe and may last for brief intervals or recur. A select few individuals may experience frequent episodes spanning weeks or months. While some cases see pain eventually abating, others endure its presence for substantial durations.


TMJ sounds

Patients experiencing TMJ disorder often report clicking, popping, or mild crunching sounds during jaw movement. While these noises may not immediately indicate the need for TMJ treatment, they often suggest the displacement of the articular disc. The specific sounds observed can vary depending on the joint’s structural configuration. It’s worth noting that some individuals may experience TMJ noises without accompanying pain. For example, the crunching sound, also known as crepitus, is commonly associated with previous or ongoing arthritic conditions affecting the TMJ. As experienced experts, we can provide the necessary insights and guidance for managing TMJ disorder effectively.


Restriction in jaw opening

Difficulty when opening the jaw wide is a common indicator of TMJ disorder in patients, based on numerous clinical findings. This restriction in jaw movement can be attributed to muscle hyperactivity or strain, impeding the patient’s ability to fully extend their jaw. When assessing the extent of jaw opening, healthcare professionals include measurements such as incisal vertical overlap and incisal-edge-to-incisal edge dimension. It is considered the minimum standard length for an adult of average build is 40mm. In rare cases, restrictions in jaw movement may result from the displacement of the articular disc, which hinders proper jaw function. These instances are often characterized by jaw deviation and persistent TMJ pain experienced by patients.


Deviation in opening

Experienced professionals in the field of jaw disorders recognize that a deviation during jaw movement often stems from a displaced disc or muscle tension. The degree of deviation and its pattern typically exhibit variations.


TMJ catching or locking

Experienced professionals understand that catching or locking in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) may occur during the movement of the jaw. This can arise from various factors, and any restriction in the natural movement of the condyle can range from temporary catching to a persistent lock. It is noteworthy that a small percentage of patients who suffer from TMJ pain commonly encounter episodes of jaw locking.


Final note

If you’re facing symptoms of TMJ disorder, taking prompt action and seeking care from a specialized dentist is essential. The focus of the treatment is predominantly on relieving pain and discomfort, even though some procedures might be more intensive.

For an appointment, simply navigate to our website or give Smrecek Dentistry a call at (949) 759-8606. Our dedicated team in Newport Beach is here to assist you.

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