Jaw and tooth pain
When you have TMJ, the wear and tear on your teeth can be more rapid than if your jaw was properly aligned. The erosion on your teeth can lead to uneven tooth wear, loss of range of jaw motion, and gum recession. If you feel any pain in your jaw or teeth, it may be cause by TMJ.
It is very common for people with TMJ to endure facial pains. TMJ specifically affects your head, neck, and facial muscles, so if a nerve gets pinched, the pain can travel to your face and cause discomfort. Also, a “bad bite”, dislocates the placement of the jaw and surrounding muscles. This imbalance can cause facial pain or pain behind the eyes.
Neck, shoulder and back pain
When you have TMJ, your unaligned bite causes a ripple effect throughout your neck, shoulder, and back. Sore, tight, and contracted jaw muscles will tilt the head and shoulders, causing overcompensation of your neck, shoulder and back muscles. This results in pain and strain throughout the upper half of your body.
Ear pain and congestion
Ear congestion, ear aches, dizziness, or ringing in the ears can all be traced to TMJ. The over-activity of the jaw can make your ear canal sensitive. When the jaw is misaligned, the muscles and nerves in your ears can be affected causing dizziness, vertigo, ear pain, restricted hearing, sinus pain, and a congested feeling in your ears.
Numbness in arms, hands, and fingers
When your bite is misaligned, the nerves and muscles throughout your face, jaw, neck and shoulders may spasm. This pinches the nerves that lead down to your arm, causing numbness and tingling in your arms, fingers, and hands. Nearly half of individuals that suffer with TMJ experience these symptoms. Numbness and tingling may occur with or without pain and may vary in intensity.
Clicking, popping, or locking of the jaw
When the jaw is not in the proper position, it often causes the TMJ disk to be displaced and the join spaces to be closed. This may result in clicking or popping when opening or closing your mouth. The clicking may happen during eating, yawning, or biting. In extreme causes, the displacement of the disk may cause your jaw to lock after opening your mouth wide. The patient may not be able to close his or her mouth. This is a serious condition should be treated by a doctor.
Teeth and jaw grinding
A mild grinding of the teeth is not a serious problem until it is done unconsciously when asleep. This condition is called Bruxism TMJ and can be very painful. It can result in a worn out surface on the teeth and sometimes fractures in the teeth.
Headaches are one of the most common complaints from TMJ sufferers. When the TMJ is out of alignment, this causes tension in the muscles of your face, neck and shoulders leading to tension headaches. Headaches can also be caused by blood pressure build-up due to the straining of your muscles. These headaches can be extremely painful and frequent, often misdiagnosed as migraines.
TMJ may seriously affect the postural appearance of your entire body. When you have an unbalanced bite, the length of your muscles and muscle activity will also be unbalanced. When the muscles become over-contracted, it can create a forward-leaning posture. This slouching causes a ripple effect down your body. When your entire body is not lined up properly, it can result in a decrease of your physical and athletic performance. You may also feel increasingly sluggish and tired throughout your day.