TMJ Symptoms


Do frequent headaches make it hard for you to concentrate? Are you bothered by ear pain? Does talking, chewing or yawning make your jaw hurt?

If you do, you may have a TMJ disorder – TMD. TMJ is a medical abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint, the joint that connects your skull and jawbone. A problem in any part of this joint system – bones, muscles, ligaments, and other tissues – may result in jaw pain. Kelowna dentist Dr. Mark Provencher can treat the problem by addressing the underlying cause.

TMJ Symptoms and Causes

A TMJ disorder may cause pain or tenderness in the temporomandibular joint or in the muscles that move your jaw. It may also cause headaches, toothaches, earaches, shoulder pain, and hearing problems.

The TMJ symptoms may occur on either side of your face, or on both sides at once, and it can be hard to determine the cause of pain.

For some people, the problem may stem from a head, neck, or jaw injury. For others, arthritis may play a significant role. Chronic jaw clenching and teeth grinding may also exacerbate the TMD.

Regardless of the combination of symptoms or manifestations the cause is generally the same – an imbalance between the fit of the teeth, the position of the jaw joints, and the function of the muscles that make everything move. Even though the cause is often the same, the treatment will vary based on the diagnosis and manifestation.

Eliminate your pain

A diagnosis by Dr. Provencher begins with a physical examination.

He will start the exam by palpating/feeling your jaw, observing its range of motion and listening to the sound it makes when it opens and closes. He will press on your jaw and neck muscles to identify painful areas – areas that are not functioning properly.

Dr. Provencher will also use x-rays and CT (3-D) scans to help with the diagnosis. He will also use computerized equipment to track the movement of your jaw through its various functions as well as the levels of electrical activity in your muscles.

Make the most out of your appointment

Before Kelowna’s Dr. Mark Provencher gets to the point where he can make a diagnosis, he will talk to you about your history, your symptoms, and possible treatment options.

You can prepare for a consultation by considering answers to common questions such as, “When did the symptoms begin?” and, “Have they occurred in the past? How often?” Your consultation will include a discussion about the intensity and triggers for your issues, your stress level, your medication(s), nutritional supplements and more. Honest, open communication is essential to help Dr. Provencher make an accurate diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis is critical to successful treatment.