I don’t have TMJ but my jaw does pop. Sometimes it pops on its own or I can make it pop. Also for the past few weeks, when I wake up in the morning, my teeth feel sore, and my bite feels a little off. What could be the real problem? – Dustyn

Dustyn – We would be interested in knowing why you say that you do not have TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. Some of the symptoms are popping or clicking in the jaw, jaw stiffness, jaw locking, a change in your bite, or radiating pain in your jaw.

The symptoms you describe are similar to those of TMJ. If you have not had an examination by a dentist who is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of the disorder, we suggest that you do. If you have already received an examination, we recommend that you seek a second opinion.

Diagnosing and Treating TMJ Disorder

The only way to identify the source of your symptoms is to receive an exam and diagnostic studies. If you are suffering with the disorder, a TMJ dentist will recommend a customized night guard. Night guards relieve your symptoms in several ways, including:

  • Raise your bite and reposition your jaw
  • Relax your jaw muscles
  • Reduce the impact of teeth grinding

In addition to a night guard, you can get additional relief from the following:

  • Jaw joint exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Applying warm compresses on the sides of your cheeks
  • Avoiding gum chewing
  • Adjusting your bite, perhaps with dental crowns, or by ensuring any existing crowns fit correctly.

Look for a dentist with extensive training in TMJ. He or she is better equipped to accurately diagnose and treat your symptoms. Don’t delay scheduling an appointment for an exam. It’s best to rule out the disorder rather than to assume you don’t have it.

This post is sponsored by Colorado Springs dentist Dr. Joseph Rota.