What are the symptoms of temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJ)?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The symptoms for TMJ can vary. Some form of pain is typically present such as jaw pain, face pain, headache, or pain in or around the ear. There also may be pain in the shoulders or neck. Other symptoms include jaw popping or clicking accompanied by pain, limited jaw movement or even a locked jaw, and a misaligned or uncomfortable bite (how the teeth come together when the jaw is closed). A person may also experience ear ringing, dizziness, and difficulty with hearing and vision.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jaw to your head, allowing you to eat, yawn, and talk. Here are some symptoms when this joint isn't working as it should:
  • Limited movement of the jaw, locking of the jaw, or stiff jaw muscles
  • Pain that radiates through your jaw, neck, or face while you are resting or when you are eating, yawning, or speaking
  • A painful popping or clicking of your jaw
  • Misalignment of your bite
  • Ear aches, headaches
  • Hearing loss or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your dentist.

The symptoms of TMJ can differ depending on the cause. If you’re concerned about TMJ, you should speak with your dentist. Some symptoms your dentist will check for are muscle tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Your dentist can suggest the most appropriate therapy based on the suspected cause.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.