The joints and muscles where the skull attaches to the lower jaw, providing you the ability to open and close your jaw – to talk, chew, and swallow – are called temporomandibular joints, or TMJ. In Dr. Pal’s initial dental examination she checks for signs of TMJ disorders.

Some common symptoms of a TMJ disorder include:

  • Muscle tenderness
  • Clicking or popping sound (some joint sound can be normal, but often it’s an indicator of TMJ trouble)
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing or talking
  • Difficulty opening your mouth wide
  • Swelling around the joint
  • A tired feeling in your jaw
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Headaches (at back of the head, forehead, and sinus area)
  • Ear pain or ringing
  • Stiff or painful muscles in shoulders and neck

Symptoms can occur on just one side or both sides.

Some causes of TMJ disorders:

  • Whiplash
  • Arthritis
  • Grinding or clenching of your teeth
  • Any severe or prolonged stress on the joint

Disorders in this area can be quite painful and frustrating. The good news is, if you have a TMJ issue, Dr. Pal has many quality treatments available.