People who grind their teeth know it, most of the time. It’s actually easy for a teeth-grinding problem to be misdiagnosed, especially if you visit a general practitioner for diagnosis and treatment instead of consulting your Fort Lauderdale dentist. Here are just some signs that your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is in dire straits and you need TMJ therapy in the form of customized dental care.

Signs of a TMJ Problem

The symptoms of TMJ problems can easily masquerade as other issues, which makes incorrect diagnosis a common occurrence. You may be given medication to take or recommended to visit a specialist, but when the problem and its side effects still doesn’t go away, that’s a major sign that your TMJ is the problem.

You will get an accurate diagnosis if you see your dentist when you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Jaw pain and tenderness: This is the most obvious symptom of a TMJ issue. If you wake every day with a sore and tender jaw, it’s a major sign that you grind and clench your teeth at night.
  2. Morning headaches: You may think you need to see a neurologist or get treatment for chronic migraines if you wake up with a headache every day. However, if your teeth are pressing against each other all night while you sleep, you can expect painful morning headaches day after day.
  3. Popping or clicking jaw: When you open your jaw, you may be able to hear and feel it pop, click, or crack – these are not things that your jaw should be doing and they’re a sign that the TMJ is out of whack. You can have difficulty opening or closing the mouth and tension in the jaw.
  4. Neck and shoulder pain: It’s easy to assume that poor posture, too much time sitting at a computer, or being on your feet all day can contribute to chronic neck and shoulder pain but, believe it or not, a problem with the TMJ is equally responsible for such discomfort. No visits to the chiropractor can fix what is caused by the TMJ.
  5. Damaged teeth: From enamel erosion to cracked and broken teeth, damaged dental work to gum recession, ongoing dental damage is a major sign that your TMJ isn’t working properly. When you grind and clench your teeth all night every night, you will easily wear away at your tooth enamel and gums and cause damage.
  6. Ear problems: Earaches, hearing loss, or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) could certainly be signs of ear problems, but they’re also clear signs of a need for TMJ therapy. Everything in your jaw and head is connected in one way or another and teeth grinding affects how your ears function or dysfunction. Dizziness is also a side effect.

Get a Nightguard to Prevent TMJ Problems

TMJ problems don’t go away on their own and, if left unaddressed, they can cause serious dental damage, oral health problems, and chronic pain. The most effective way to deliver TMJ therapy is through preventive dentistry: a customized nightguard that is worn every night while you sleep.

Find out what’s going on with your chronic pain and see if you need TMJ therapy from Dr. Charmaine Johnson at Premier Smile Center in Fort Lauderdale. Contact us to schedule a consultation.