TMJ Symptoms

TMJ Symptoms

If you’ve ever woken up in the morning with a stiff jaw, a headache, dental pain, or jaw pain, you could be suffering with a TMJ disorder(tmd). The jaw joints, also known as the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), are the joints connecting the jawbone (mandible) to the skull.

These joints are responsible for allowing the jaw to move and perform various functions, such as speaking and chewing. The TMJs are complex joints that consist of the bones, muscles, ligaments, and other tissues that work together to allow smooth and coordinated movement of the jaw.

Problems with the TMJs or their surrounding muscles can result in a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which can cause pain, discomfort, and a range of other symptoms that can impact daily life. Treatment for TMD(Temporomandibular Disorders) typically involves a combination of pain management, physical therapy, and, in some cases, surgery.

The TMJ is a joint in the mouth which connects the lower jaw, also known as the mandible, to the skull. It is located on both sides of the face and acts as a hinge, allowing the jaw to open and close, enabling the person to open their mouth. The temporomandibular joint is commonly referred to as the jaw joint, as it plays a crucial role in the movement and functionality of the jaw.

Dentists however, refer to TMJ as an abbreviation for a collective group of dental issues affecting the jaw. It may also be called TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders) or TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder). 

With TMJ, individuals may experience issues such as swelling, facial pain, jaw pain, trouble eating and speaking, headaches, and difficulty moving the jaw joint. The good news is that there are various TMJ exercises and treatments available to help ease the pain and improve the functionality of the jaw joint.

These may include physical therapy, pain management techniques, and in some cases, surgery. By incorporating these treatments and exercises into their daily routine, those affected by TMJ can search for relief from their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

While there are numerous TMJ causes, today we’re focussing on the TMJ symptoms. If you’re worried you may have TMJ, here’s a look at the main TMJ symptoms to look out for. 

Pain and discomfort 

One of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder(tmd) is jaw pain and/or discomfort. 

TMJ symptoms ear related can often result in tenderness, pain, swelling, or discomfort around the face, jaw, or the ear. 

Because TMJ often results in teeth grinding or clenching of the jaw, pain and discomfort in the mouth, jaw and/or ear is not uncommon. In fact, many TMJ nerve damage symptoms can often cause jaw pain and discomfort. 

Those affected with TMJ often experience limited movement and mobility in the jaw so in terms of where is TMJ pain felt, almost always, it is the jaw and/or mouth that are most commonly affected, closely followed by the ear. 

People also find it difficult to open and close their mouth due to the intense pain caused by the condition in the mouth and jaw, but with proper treatment, including surgery, healthcare, and medicine, they can find relief from these symptoms and improve their quality of life.


Unusual sounds and sensations

Another set of common TMJ symptoms to be aware of, as well as symptoms of a TMJ infection, are unusual sounds and sensations in and around the mouth, which can be indicative of various health conditions affecting the temporomandibular joint and its surrounding muscles.

Usually, TMJ causes popping and clicking sounds and sensations when those affected open and close their mouths, which can make it feel as if the jaw is about to lock and can be very unsettling, especially when eating. These symptoms are a result of oral health and dysfunction that can impact the temporomandibular joint and its surrounding muscles.

Sometimes the jaw may even feel as if it is grinding, or being grated against other bones in the jaw. Needless to say, this too is very unpleasant. 


Jaw dislocation and/or displacement 

While there are a variety of TMJ causes, including stress as a prime example, as far as TMJ nerve damage symptoms go, you may find that if the condition is too severe, it can lead to jaw dislocation and/or displacement. 

A jaw dislocation, also known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dislocation, is a condition where the jaw bone becomes partially or completely unhinged from the TMJ. This can be a distressing and extremely painful experience for those affected.

The treatment for jaw dislocation may vary depending on the severity of the case, but often includes a visit to a clinic, where the patient may undergo physical therapy, pain management techniques, or in severe cases, surgery. The goal of treatment is to alleviate the pain and dysfunction caused by the jaw dislocation and restore normal function to the temporomandibular joint.

A displaced disc in the very same joints is also possible if you suffer with TMJ. In terms of where is TMJ felt, typically the pain is in the jaw, especially if you suffer with jaw displacement or dislocation. 


Headaches and migraines 

TMJ muscles are located in the cheeks and the jaw. Those suffering with TMJ often find that pain can spread along those muscles and up to the sides of the head. When this occurs, sometimes people may grind their teeth so much that it causes a headache. 

Typically, TMJ headaches can vary from mild to extreme, and could even result in migraines. When this occurs, the pain is usually located in the temples, the forehead, and/or around the eyes. 


Facial asymmetry 

One of the more alarming TMJ symptoms that people sometimes experience is facial asymmetry. 

This can be particularly distressing not only because it can alter your appearance, but also because it can sometimes be confused with symptoms associated with a stroke, or Bell’s Palsy. 

Some people affected by temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) experience drooping or sagging on one side of their face, with the eyes and/or eyelids often being the most affected. In some cases, one side of the mouth may also droop.

This can be a distressing and uncomfortable symptom of TMJ, but with proper treatment, individuals can find relief and improve their quality of life. Treatment options for this type of facial asymmetry caused by TMJ may include physical therapy, pain management techniques, or in severe cases, surgery. By seeking out effective treatment, those affected by this symptom of TMJ can find relief and regain their confidence.


Vertigo and tinnitus 

Finally, when looking at common TMJ symptoms, we cannot overlook vertigo and/or tinnitus. 

TMJ disorders(tmd) can sometimes cause people to experience vertigo, which can make them feel dizzy and unsteady on their feet, while also affecting their vision and preventing them from seeing straight. Vertigo can leave them feeling as if the room is spinning, which can in turn lead to nausea. 

Tinnitus is also possible if you suffer with TMJ. As far as TMJ symptoms ear related issues are concerned, tinnitus is a very real risk. Tinnitus can cause people to hear a high pitched ringing sound in their ears constantly, even if there is no surrounding or background noise. 



When it comes to TMJ, sometimes the best treatment for TMJ may be nothing. In other instances, for anybody looking into how to cure TMJ permanently, a visit to your dentist should be high on your list of priorities. 

TMJ symptoms can vary from mild to severe. If you are worried you may suffer with TMJ, ensure you seek professional help, regardless of which TMJ symptoms you may be experiencing. 

Visiting your dentist will give you peace of mind as they can diagnose the issue, prescribe TMJ exercises, or draw up an alternative treatment plan to help manage the condition or clear it up entirely. 

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