TMJ Disorder Symptoms Can Mimic Chronic Sinusitis

Did you know that TMJ disorder and chronic sinusitis share many of the same symptoms?

TMJ Disorder

Headaches, jaw and neck pain, facial pressure, toothaches, earaches, tinnitus and dizziness can occur with either condition. Getting a proper diagnosis is the key to finding an effective treatment. Unfortunately, many TMJ patients don’t realize the true cause of their symptoms.

If what you think is chronic sinusitis doesn’t seem to be responding to treatment, TMJ disorder could actually be the cause of your symptoms — and that means you need to see an oral surgeon for diagnosis and treatment.

Signs of Chronic Sinusitis

In most patients, chronic sinusitis comes with some symptoms that clearly point to a sinus-related issue. These may include:

  • Nasal congestion that makes it difficult to breathe
  • Discolored drainage from the nose or down the back of the throat
  • Impaired sense of taste and smell
  • Tenderness and swelling around the eyes, nose and cheeks
  • Nausea due to excessive mucus in the stomach

If you have nasal inflammation and sinus-related symptoms, you might indeed be suffering from chronic sinusitis.

TMJ Disorder Symptoms

Patients with TMJ may also have sinusitis-like symptoms, including sinus pressure and stuffiness. The difference is that TMJ disorder also presents with one or more of the following symptoms that aren’t related to chronic sinusitis:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw or at the temporomandibular joint area
  • Difficulty or pain while chewing
  • Clicking, grating or popping sounds in the jaw
  • Locking of the jaw, making it difficult to close or open the mouth
  • Spasms in the jaw and facial muscles

For many patients, TMJ symptoms tend to flare up after eating or while talking.

How Is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?

Diagnosing TMJ involves taking a detailed patient medical history and performing an examination of the jaw, neck, face and head.

Imaging tests can also be helpful diagnostic tools for jaw-related facial conditions. If a patient is suspected to be suffering from TMJ, an oral surgeon may order X-rays, a CT scan, an MRI or a bone scan to get a look at the temporomandibular joint and surrounding soft tissues. Blood tests may be also advised, to rule out other medical conditions that can cause TMJ-like symptoms.

If you think you might have TMJ disorder, an experienced oral surgeon can help. The professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can determine the source of your symptoms, and if TMJ is the problem, recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

As specialists in managing jaw-related facial conditions, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield have successfully treated patients with TMJ for over a decade. To learn how the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah team can help you, contact one of our three convenient Salt Lake City area offices — in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Toole — and schedule a consultation to discuss TMJ disorder.