jawpainblondeDo you find that your jaw doesn’t feel or function the way it used to? Perhaps you are suffering from daily headaches you can’t find a way to explain (along with some other confusing symptoms). If you are informed about TMJ disorder (TMD), you might quickly recognize that this jaw joint problem may be the culprit. However, if you aren’t so familiar with TMD, you may have a hard time pinpointing the problem until you come in for a dental visit. Get to know this concern on a basic level, so you are prepared to protect your jaw health.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

Also referred to as “TMD” for short, this is known as a functional disorder (and is often something that occurs as the result of or that contributes to bruxism – another functional disorder). Short for “temporomandibular joint,” your TMJ is a jaw joint. You have one on either side of your head, beneath your temples, which offers motion to your jaw. When these joints are not in their best health, we call this TMD.

Do I Have TMD?

You may have TMJ disorder if you are noticing common symptoms associated with the problem. However, it’s often difficult to recognize changes right away, which is why we suggest you keep up with six-month dental checkups. The sooner we discover evidence of TMD, the faster we can offer treatment to protect you from long-term damage. As for those common symptoms, consider the following:

  • Your jaw makes a grinding, popping, or snapping sound when you chew or open and close your mouth
  • You deal with daily headaches
  • Your jaw, face, neck, shoulders, or back feels tired or hurt
  • Chewing is uncomfortable
  • Your jaw locks from time to time (but only for a moment)