Sometimes, it’s tempting to ignore that stray pain or stiffness as you get older. What, are you going to complain after every little pain? But when that pain and stiffness hits your jaw joints, you need to call our Birmingham, AL dental office today at 205-545-8007. Pain there can mean you have the early stages of TMJ disorder, a debilitating condition that can lead to powerful migraines and lockjaw.

Signs You Might Have TMJ Disorder

Your jaw is controlled by two joints called temporomandibular joints (or TMJ for short). Whenever you eat, drink, talk, yawn, laugh, and more, you are using your TMJ. So when these joints get sore and overworked, that can be a big problem for you.

What kind of problems? It usually starts out simple enough with some pain and stiffness in your jaw. Then things get worse. Here are some of the signs that you have some stage of TMJ disorder.

  • Difficulty opening or closing your jaw.
  • Pain in your shoulders and neck.
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • Clicking or popping noises when you chew.
  • Pain in your upper back.
  • Earaches and ringing in your ears.

This is not normally a sudden downturn. Instead, it grows slowly so you have trouble noticing that things are getting worse. That’s why you need to call our Birmingham dentist at Perrigo Dental Care. Dr. Perrigo has advanced training in TMJ treatment and can help your jaw joints before things get bad.

How bad can things get? Here’s what your day can be like if you suffer from severe and untreated TMJ disorder.

A Morning With Untreated TMJ Disorder

You’re staring at the clock, waiting for it to finally make noise. You’ve been awake for a while because the pain in your neck and back. You took some painkillers but they take a bit to kick in. Once the alarm goes off, you stumble out of bed and get ready for work.

Breakfast is rough. You’re starving, but it hurts to chew thanks to your TMJ. So you eat some bland, soggy cereal and drink some lukewarm coffee. You should brush, but that’s painful too. Instead, you mumble a goodbye to the family and drive to work.

Traffic isn’t that bad all things considered, but it’s still stressful. That stress causes you to clench your jaw, making the TMJ pain spread to your shoulders and upper back. Finally at work, you try to focus but have a hard time with the pain and ringing in your ears. You take some more pain relievers.

An Afternoon With Untreated TMJ Disorder

Everyone ordered from that Chinese place for lunch, but you just can’t. You know lunch has to be soft, easy-to-chew foods like yogurt and soup. You even turn down that piece of cake for someone’s birthday.

There’s an important meeting that afternoon, but you have trouble hearing everyone because of the earaches and ringing. Instead of asking questions and risking looking like you weren’t paying attention, you just smile and nod. Back at your desk, you count the hours until it’s finally time to head home.

An Evening With Untreated TMJ Disorder

The drive back to work is horrible thanks to an accident. The tension makes you clench your jaw, which hurts a lot. You keep some pain relievers in the car just in case, so you dry swallow a few. You eventually get back home, but now you have a strong migraine even after taking those pills.

At dinner, you don’t feel like talking or eating. You force yourself to have some dinner and try to interact with your family, but the pain and discomfort has you on edge. You end up snapping at them by mistake. Finally, you decide it’s better to try and go to sleep. It takes you forever to feel comfortable enough to fall asleep, and sure enough, you wake up in the middle of the night in pain again.

Call us TODAY at 205-545-8007 or use our online form to make your next appointment for TMJ treatment. Dr. Perrigo is your Birmingham dentist with the expertise needed to treat your TMJ disorder and prevent it from ruining your days.