For many, TMJ disorder is a foreign term that does not address their issues. Often, they have not seen a dentist who is an expert on TMJ and can recognize the signs and symptoms of a problem.
Dr. Sid Solomon has studied TMJ and TMJ-related conditions for more than 35 years, and he has been responsible for helping hundreds of patients identify and appropriately address their TMJ.
Below, you will find many of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder. It is imperative that you schedule a consultation if you feel afflicted by any of these symptoms.
Jaw-Related TMJ Symptoms
Many symptoms of TMJ disorder present in the jaw because the joint controls movement and affects the bite. Some symptoms include:
- Clenched Jaw: If you wake up with a tense jaw, you were likely clenching it throughout the night. You also may find yourself clenching your jaw throughout the day.
- Clicking and Popping of the Jaw: Clicking and popping of the jaw is a telltale sign of TMJ. The clicking and popping happens because of the jaw’s misalignment and can lead to facial pain, jaw pain, eye pain, headaches, vertigo, or migraines.
- Changes in the Bite: If your bite has changed or you have difficulty chewing, your temporomandibular joint may be responsible.
- Jaw Pain: Pain in the jaw is often attributed to stress but can be a symptom of a more serious and chronic neuromuscular dentistry problem in TMJ. Jaw pain can lead to tension headaches, facial pain, ear pain, or pain in the eyes.
- Limited Jaw Movement: Limited jaw movement is a common symptom of TMJ due to the misalignment of the jaw. You may have trouble eating, talking, drinking, breathing, and more.
Some TMJ symptoms may arise in your eyes, ears, and perception. Because these symptoms can indicate other conditions as well, it’s important that a TMJ expert examines you to determine if they’re related to the temporomandibular joint.
- Ear Congestion: If a simple cleaning will not clear your ear congestion or you experience chronic ear congestion over a sustained period of time, it may be caused by TMJ.
- Eye Pain: Eye pain can come about from headaches or migraines, tension, and more. People often discount eye pain as a symptom of TMJ, but you should visit a GNM dentist if it appears in tandem with other TMJ symptoms.
- Headaches: Headaches can arise due to excessive stress on the temporomandibular joint, but they may also indicate numerous other conditions. Headaches paired with any other symptoms are often telltale signs of TMJ disorder.
- Migraines: Migraines are more intense headaches that make you sensitive to sound and light, cause nausea and muscle pain, and more. Migraines are difficult to live with, so it’s important to explore their potential link to TMJ disorder.
- Loss of Balance: The inner ear is directly next to the jaw hinge, and TMJ disorder can aggravate or disrupt it. You may suffer loss of balance, dizziness, and more.
- Ringing in the Ear or Diminished Hearing: Tinnitus, ringing in the ear, and hearing troubles are all problems in and of themselves, but they could point to TMJ disorder due to the proximity of the ear to the temporomandibular joint.
- Vertigo: Vertigo results in intense dizziness combined with the inability to stand, balance or distinguish which direction is up or down. Balance is controlled by the inner ear, which can be affected by the pressures on that area that is caused by TMJ disorder.
Other Symptoms of TMJ
If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to mention them. They can be very telling about the presence or the severity of TMJ disorder.
- Facial Pain: Pain in the jaw or sinuses, behind or in the eyes, and in the cheek muscles may indicate problems with your TMJ, especially if the pain is chronic and not assuaged by medications, massages, or compresses.
- Forward Head Posture: Severe TMJ can lead to forward head posture, which in turn can cause neck and back pain, eye strain, and more.
- Insomnia: Insomnia is characterized by the inability to fall or stay asleep, and it can be a direct result of your TMJ disorder keeping you up throughout the night.
- Myofascial Pain (Fibromyalgia): Myofascial pain is a chronic form of pain that can affect the entire body, from headaches and jaw pain to lower back and leg pain. Although it can come from many sources, it can also indicate TMJ disorder.
- Restless Leg Syndrome: With TMJ, nerves to the legs are often intercepted and can cause tingling, restlessness, and numbness.
- Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing during your sleep cycle. It’s one of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder.
- Tingling of the Fingertips: With TMJ, nerves to the fingertips are often intercepted and can cause tingling and numbness.