What Are the Symptoms of TMJ?

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint also referred to as the TMJ, connects your jawbone to the skull. The muscles that control the joints are attached to the mandible and allow the jaw to move in different directions. The TMJ allows you to chew, talk and yawn. TMJ disorders occur when something goes wrong with your jaw joints and the jaw muscles. There are a variety of symptoms that are associated with TMJ disorders.

Symptoms of TMJ disorders

TMJ disorders are usually not serious. Often symptoms are mild and do not inconvenience people. For most individuals, they go away or they can be treated with self-managed care. But, with others, the disorders can be serious and people may develop significant long-term complications.


Pain occurs in the facial muscles and the joint itself. Moving the jaw when speaking, chewing and yawning can be painful. Sometimes people feel discomfort in the absence of any jaw activity. Pain may spread from the jaw to other areas of the face, and the ear, neck and shoulders.

Restricted movement

People with TMJ disorders may find it difficult to move the jaw. The limited movement prevents the mouth from being fully opened. Upon opening, a person may not be able to move the jaw in all directions. Sometimes it may lock. Ordinary activities such as speaking and eating may become hard to engage in because of muscle weakness and pain.

A person may experience a change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together properly. The bite may also feel odd. The discomfort may lead to a patient trying to open and close the mouth to find the right alignment. This can make the muscles to swell and cause other symptoms.


The jaw of a patient may make strange noises. There may be an unusual clicking, popping or grating noise in the joint when a person opens or closes the mouth or chews. This normally means that the mandibular disc is not in the correct position. Jaw noises are not always linked to TMJ. But if a person experiences pain or limited movement along with the sounds, seeking medical advice is recommended.

TMJ disorders can cause tinnitus, which is the perception of ringing or noise in the ears. People may hear ringing, clicking, roaring or hissing. Although it is not a frequent problem for patients with TMJ disorder, the ringing may inconvenience an individual. It can make it difficult for a person to concentrate and may lead to a drop in productivity levels.

When to see a dentist

Pain, restricted movement and sounds are some of the symptoms linked to TMJ disorders that you should know. If you have persistent pain or jaw tenderness or if you cannot completely open or close your jaw, seek diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. You should also seek professional advice if the disorders lower your quality of life even if the symptoms are mild. Your dentist can help you manage or resolve your problems.

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