Diagnosing TMJ is not always straightforward. For example, facial pain can be a symptom of many conditions, such as sinus or ear infections, decayed or abscessed teeth, various types of headache, and facial neuralgia (nerve-related facial pain). At present, there is no widely accepted, standard test to correctly identify all TMJ conditions.
In most cases, however, a complete evaluation, including a detailed medical history, the patient’s description of symptoms, and physical examination provide information useful for making a diagnosis.
Pain is the most common symptom. TMJ pain is often described as a dull aching pain in the jaw joint and nearby areas, which comes and goes. Some people, however, report no pain, but still have problems using their jaws.
Other symptoms can include:
- pain in the neck and shoulders
- migraine and/or chronic headache
- jaw muscle stiffness
- limited movement or locking of the jaw
- painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
- a bite that feels “off’
- ear pain, pressure, and/or ringing in the ears
- decreased hearing
- dizziness and vision problems
Jaw noises unaccompanied by pain or decreased mobility do not mean you have a TMJ problem. Keep in mind that occasional discomfort in the jaw joint or chewing muscles is common, and is not always a cause for concern. However if you do have questions you can always consult Dr. Obradovic.