TMJ Symptoms

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TMJ Symptoms or signs symptoms of TMJ can be any Jaw pain, TMJ headache, TMJ ear pain or discomfort, ringing in ear, fullness in the ear, and any pain associated with the face area.

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The following are the more common Signs symptoms of TMJ or TMJ Symptoms:

Jaw pain: Click on the Jaw Pain link for more info.Clicking and Popping: Click on the

That can be pain typically in the mandible (lower jaw) and just in front of the ear (The temporomandibular joint area). People can also have jaw pain in the upper jaw (the maxilla).

But that pain can sometimes be mistaken as sinus issues and vice versa. You'll need to see your Dentist to rule out any Tumors and cysts which do occur occasionally, and to check for infection in the Jaw bone which are usually related with teeth.

Clicking and/or popping:

The more common clicking or popping is the meniscus or disc in the Temporomandibular Joint when it stays forward and inside of it's regular place in the TMJ Capsule or Joint. When this happens, it is a common irregularity in the function of the joint or TMJ.

Typically when someone has a slipping, clicking, or a popping disc, it is Irreversible, and will always slip out, pop, click and dislocate for the rest of your life. It is a rare case that we can cure, or recapture the disc from displacing or popping like that.

Sometimes people come in to me for a TMJ exam and report TMJ Symptoms that there is a popping in the joint when it is a natural or normal popping when the individual opens their mouth wide. So, if you have a "Bump" or a popping when you open your mouth wide, it may be just the normal "BUMP" that everyone has. Some Bumps are just more noticeable than others.

You may even place your fingers or hands on the side of your face and feel more noticeable bumping in front of your ear from one side compared to the other, and think that there is something wrong.

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In almost every case, that is normal. Just like if you draw a line down the middle of your face, the left side is not an exact mirror image of the right side. You have slight deviations from one side to the other. And so it is with the bumpiness on the side of your face at the TMJ area. When you open your mouth, you might feel differences between one side over the other, which is most of the time normal.

TMJ headaches:

The two more common types of headaches are Migraine and Tension Headaches. I can't help you out much with Migraine headaches, although sometimes people are misdiagnosed with Tension headaches as Migraines.

So, there still is hope if you have a "Headache", that you can be cured of your headaches with TMJ Therapy. So, I'd recommend you rule out the Tension headache and treat it with TMJ splint therapy to see if it helps. If it doesn't, then continue with the Migraine Treatment.

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You can treat the TMJ Headaches as a Tension headaches, because that's what they are....Tension Headaches. Treat them with a Dental appliance.

Ringing in Ears:

This is Tinnitus, and the ringing in Ears can be caused by several different ways. But when my TMJ patients come in for treatment with their TMJ Jaw Pain, the Ringing in Ears go away just about every single time. So, it sure is a good idea and recommendation to treat your Tinitus with a Dental TMJ Appliance.

Lock Jaw:

That's when you can't open your mouth much past one finger width if you try to put your finger in your mouth when it is locked shut or when you can't open it.

There are Two common TMJ Symptoms of Lock Jaw...

A True Lock Jaw when your TMJ disc is stuck in a position preventing your joint from functioning properly.

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And the second is Trismus.

That is when your Jaw muscles are in a spasm and just won't let you open your mouth. Either one can be treated with a TMJ Splint. You really don't want to mess around with trying to cure it with a store bought mouthguard because if it is stuck too long, the tissues will adhere, glue, or bond in that position and often require open TMJ Surgery to unlock the Lock Jaw.

So, go see the TMJ Dentist for that one RIGHT AWAY. It only takes a few weeks to permanantly bond in the stuck closed position.

Fullness in the Ear:

Fullness in the Ear feels like you can't clear out your ears when you're ascending or descending in Altitudes, such as what happens when flying in an airplane.

Several patients have come in for treatment for their Fullness of ears. I only have a few patients that I was not able to cure with that symptom. I would say that that symptom is eliminated about seventy to eighty percent of the time. So, that is probably the one of the TMJ symptoms that I've had the least amount of success with. But TMJ Therapy still has worked for most.

BTW, my NEW TMJ Night Guard was tested this week and it passed with flying colors-...It will stop or reduce...

-Jaw Pain

-TMJ Joint pain

-Tension Headaches

-Ear pain associated with TMD

-Ringing in the ears associated with TMD

-Tooth sensitivities associated with TMD

-Sinus pain associated with TMD

-Mine will actually be the most effective Guard available to improve Athletic Performance

-You'll sleep comfortably

-You'll wake up haveing deeper sleep

-It will actually STAY in your mouth while you sleep.

-You'll probably want to wear it during the day

-Reduce popping and clicking in the TMJs

-Eliminate Lock Jaw

-eliminate Trismus

-You'll feel normal again

Jaw Pain
Signs Symptoms of TMJ

Dr Spainhower,

I have been using the Smartguard for a month now and I am so pleased. I have tried so many guards and this is the first that has worked for me. I did experience tmj, headaches, ringing in ears, vertigo, neck pain and nausea throughout my days but not now.  I strongly suggest this Smartguard for anyone who grinds or clenches. Who would have ever thought that this odd looking guard would have given me back my normal life?

Thank you so much,

Shannon B.


Yes the main purpose is to reduce tmj symptoms and protect my teeth.

I just got the guard 2 days ago and I already feel better.

The only thing Im struggling with is my bottom front teeth get sore and I get pools of saliva running out of my mouth. but I have a feeling once I get used to it this will improve. I used to have the NTI mouthguard. I kept chewing thru it and had to modify it all the time.



Dr. Spainhower:

First, the guard has done everything I wanted and then some. I could feel the bite adjustment happening early on, and the jaw pain (relatively mild for the most part) went away quickly (four days or so and it was totally gone). Oddly enough, the first day after I wore it, I had the worst jaw pain episode I've ever had.

I have absolutely no idea why that happened or if it was at all related to the SmartGuard, but the next day after the pain was substantially reduced and again after four days or so I had no jaw pain.

The ear stuffiness was slower going, but I felt progress after a few days. After 2-3 weeks or so, it was very, very mild (I had to think hard to even notice it) and after six weeks or so, it was gone (or at least reduced 95%).

I was even more impressed because here in Virginia it's smack in the middle of allergy season, which usually causes all sorts of sinus problems. That's why I bought another - I could feel the ears coming back slightly (very slightly, but I am sensitive to it) and in case it was the guard wearing out I wanted to have another.

Also, for what it's worth, I found it very comfortable - I never had a problem sleeping with it and it never fell out. No sharp edges or anything either (and a lot of guards end up having little edges here and there that will cut or irritate your mouth if you don't trim them). So altogether I've been extremely pleased - the thing works almost like magic.

I had become used to stretching my jaw almost subconsciously and now I feel no soreness or stiffness when I do it (which is out of habit and not necessity).

Also, even though denture cleaner tablets are very cheap, I alternated between rinsing with hot water and submerging in denture cleaner. It's barely even discolored and doesn't really show signs of use. Good care, I think, but it's also a high quality piece.

As for the fork, my first attempt was with moderate force and it came off immediately in the water. The second time, I jammed the fork in as far as it would go (it didn't go all the way through) and while it seemed stuck on there pretty well after one or two seconds in the water it slid right off.

I liked the idea of submerging it, even though the first one floated (upside down) and I got a great fit on that one. Still, I must have done something wrong. I just hope I can save somebody else the trouble - it's probably a good idea to tell people to stick the fork all the way through. I was a little unclear as to how much pressure was needed - depending on the fork, you can encounter resistance pretty quickly even though you have a good ways to go to get through. I'll let you know how it goes next time.

Thanks for all your help and especially for the quick response to this. I really do appreciate it and I have to say I am very happy with the relief I get from the SmartGuard.



Before wearing the SmartGuard, I would wake up in the middle of the night with a headache during the day I had to apply warm corn bags to my jaw and often had to take IBprofen to ease the pain. I went to a TMJ specialist and was told I needed to wear 2 appliances, 1 for day and 1 for night, for 3-6 months, braces for an overbite and more appliances for the rest of my life. Total cost $,8000 to $10,000. No mention of exercises or physical therapy.

The first night wearing the night guard I didn’t have any more headaches. After 2 nights my jaw didn’t ache during the day between meals. Today I am working on incorporating exercises into my daily routine. Thank you Dr. Spainhower for caring about those of us who suffer everyday with TMJ.


Donna Brudjar

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