Simply knowing the warning signs of certain illnesses and diseases can help you avoid serious complications down the line. For instance, if you recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and take immediate action by taking aspirin, it could potentially save your life. Although TMJ disorders aren’t as serious as a heart attack, they can cause lots of health complications down the line. Learn what early signs of TMJ to watch for include so you can visit a TMJ dentist as soon as possible for treatment.  

attractive woman massages her cheeks and jawline

Jaw Pain 

One of the first early signs of TMJ you might experience is jaw pain. Usually, you will wake up and feel sore in the area next to the ear where your jaw hinge is located. Since there are large muscles that span your entire face near the jaw, you might also experience pain in front of your ear, in the neck, forehead, or around the eye. 

Popping or Clicking Jaw 

When you open and close your mouth, you might hear a clicking or popping noise in your jaw. This is the sound of the disc inside the TM joint slipping in and out of place. It’s also an early sign of a TMJ disorder. Some patients also experience popping or ringing in their ears along with the noise in their jaw. 

Frequent Headaches 

The other most common symptom that’s an early sign of TMJ and one that Dr. Stafford has experienced herself are frequent headaches. If you never experience headaches very often and all of sudden they happen several times per week, it might be an early sign of TMD.  

What Happens If I Don’t Get Treatment?

If you ignore these warning signs of TMJ, we have bad news – your condition will only grow worse. Some common dangers you might experience include: 

  • Poor oral health – grinding and clenching can lead to worn down enamel resulting in cavities, cracked, or broken teeth 
  • Ear problems – Since the TM joint is located next to the ear, leaving your TMJ disorder untreated can result in compromised hearing and inner ear problems that cause issues with balance, recurring dizziness, and vertigo. 
  • Jaw problems – Serious jaw problems can develop and you might experience lockjaw where your jaw becomes stuck in the opened or closed position. Your jaw might even become dislocated. 

If you would like to avoid these dangers of TMJ disorders, it’s important to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan as soon as possible. Please schedule an appointment with Dr. Stafford at Bite Align today by calling (920) 563-7323