Recognizing TMJ Disorder

Your jaw’s movement is incredibly complex. Though simple acts like biting and chewing can seem mundane, there are myriad parts of your oral structure involved in every effort. Two of the main components of this movement are your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, which connect your lower jaw to the sides of your skull. The intricate joints act as twin hinges for your lower jaw to pivot on. Under certain circumstances, these joints can become extremely disturbed, and the resulting condition, known as TMJ disorder, can prove extremely disruptive.

How You Can Tell if it’s TMJ Disorder

Unlike a cracked or cavity-stricken tooth, the symptoms of TMJ disorder are numerous and diverse enough to make diagnosis difficult for many patients. Besides jaw pain and stiffness, and the consistent clicking/popping sensation when you move your mouth, symptoms of TMJ disorder can also include;

  • Sore, sensitive muscles in your jaw and face
  • Muscle spasms in your jaw and face
  • Consistent, unconscious teeth-grinding (bruxism)
  • Chronic headaches and migraines
  • Pain and ringing in one or both ears
  • Stiff, sore muscles in your neck, upper back, and shoulders

TMJ Relief from Your Dentist

Like the warning signs that result from it, the factors that can lead to TMJ disorder vary from patient to patient. Therefore, treating TMJ disorder is case-specific, and finding relief from your jaw pain will depend on its cause. For instance, if crooked teeth force your bite out of balance, then straightening them with orthodontic or Invisalign® treatment can offer a solution. In many cases, an oral splint and/or mouthguard can help keep your jaw positioned more comfortably, allowing the joints to relax and the symptoms of TMJ disorder to dissipate. For patients with bruxism, the guard can also protect their teeth from damage, which can further disturb bite balance and contribute to painful TMJ disorder symptoms.


As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.