The Causes and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Though the main symptom is jaw pain, there are several other symptoms associated with TMJ Disorder (TMD). Other signs can include ear pain, a stiff jaw, and chronic headaches. When treating your TMD, Dr. Tim Kelly will not simply address your symptoms. He will provide a complete diagnosis to uncover the primary cause of your condition. These causes can include jaw misalignment, bruxism, and other factors. Once he understands the origin of your TMD, Dr. Kelly can provide comprehensive and personalized care. To learn more about the causes and symptoms of TMJ Disorder, visit our Albuquerque, NM, practice today.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joints (jaw joints) are responsible for a full range of motion, making them quite complex. They are exposed to a great deal of pressure since you constantly use them to bite and chew. Some of the most common causes of TMD include:

  • Arthritis that has damaged the cartilage in the joint
  • Discs that have slipped out of place, causing painful grinding  
  • Jaw misalignment
  • Broken, missing, or worn (shorter) teeth
  • Bruxism, or chronic grinding and clenching of your jaw
  • Facial trauma 
  • Multiple root canals or dental crowns
Woman holding jaw, with labels of TMJ Disorder Symptoms.

Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Just as there are various causes of TMD, there are also a number of symptoms. Facial pain is often the telltale sign of the condition. However, this discomfort can take various forms. It may be constant, or it can come in waves.

Often, the pain will worsen when you are eating. Pain may be centralized or it may shift to other parts of the body, affecting your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Other signs that you may be experiencing TMJ Disorder can include:

  • Chronic, tension, or migraine headaches
  • Ear pain, similar to an ear infection
  • Slight hearing loss or a ringing sensation in your ears (tinnitus)
  • Popping noise when you open or close your mouth
  • Waking with tired facial muscles
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness

Diagnosing TMJ Disorder

Dr. Kelly will carefully analyze your symptoms to provide an accurate TMD diagnosis. He will use x-rays, photographs, physical models of your jaw, and a CT scan to evaluate your jaw alignment. He will perform a bite analysis, measuring the force and balance of your bite, as well as examine its range of motion and listen to your jaw as you open and close your mouth.

By using cutting-edge technology to analyze your bite, Dr. Kelly can help ensure increased comfort and efficiency when chewing, and a healthier smile overall.

Additionally, Dr. Kelly will apply gentle pressure around your jaw to locate painful or sore areas. Once he understands the original cause of your condition, he can provide appropriate care. In most cases, he will treat your TMJ Disorder using oral splints (mouth or bite guards), dental crowns, or other restorative treatments.

Relieve Your Jaw Pain Today

Dr. Kelly can provide long-term relief from TMJ Disorder. By using cutting-edge technology to analyze your bite, he can help ensure increased comfort and efficiency when chewing, and a healthier smile overall. If you are suffering from symptoms of TMJ Disorder, contact our office today to schedule a thorough diagnostic exam. 

Dr. Timothy M. Kelly

Timothy M. Kelly, DMD, PA

Timothy M. Kelly, DMD, PA, has been in practice in Albuquerque, NM, for over 35 years. He provides a wide range of cosmetic, restorative, and general dental services, with a special emphasis on the treatment of TMJ disorder. Some of our most popular services include:

To request an appointment with Dr. Kelly, please fill out our online form or call (505) 256-1770.

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"We believe that every patient has infinite worth and should be treated with dignity and respect. We are dedicated to educating, creating awareness, and empowering people to make treatment choices that are consistent with their own beliefs, needs and desires." Dr. Tim Kelly

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Albuquerque Office

1441 Carlisle Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110

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