TMJ and TMD Symptoms: Learn About the Sings & Symptoms

If you think you may have a temporomandibular disorder, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Do you experience pain in your face, ears, below or in front of your ears or headaches for which your medical doctor has not found a cause?
  • Do your ears muffle or feel clogged?
  • Do your jaw joints (TMJ), located in front of your ears, hurt when you chew and do they make clicking or crackling noises?
  • Do your facial muscles feel tired or stiff when you awaken, during the day, after a lot of speaking or when yawning?
  • Do you clench your teeth together while sleeping or awake? A spouse can often tell you about your jaw muscle activity during sleeping.
  • Do you have headaches in the sides of your temples?
  • Are you able to open your mouth freely, smoothly and as wide as you are accustomed to doing?
  • Can you move your jaw from side to side with your mouth open?
  • Do you experience episodes when your jaw feels that it locks open or shut?
  • Do you feel that your upper and lower teeth don't fit together as they usually do?
  • Is your bite comfortable? Is chewing tough foods uncomfortable or painful?
  • Do you experience dental pain in lots of teeth for which your dentist has found no cause?
  • Are your teeth chipping and are the front teeth worn flat on their edges?
  • Do your upper front teeth completely cover the lower teeth when you bite together?
  • Have your teeth been shifting, creating spaces or crowding for no apparent dental reason?

If you have answered "YES" to any of these questions, you may have a temporomandibular disorder and should seek care from a dental TMJ expert, who has experience and training in this field.

An initial visit with a TMJ TMD dental expert should begin with a careful and comprehensive review.

This includes the history of the onset of the problem, how it has progressed, what medical evaluations and treatments have already been performed and their results. It is very important to discuss your TMD TMJ symptoms, for they provide invaluable clues to the nature of your problem.

TMJ TMDs manifest as a variety of symptoms, including headaches, ear pain, pain in the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and disruption of normal mandibular function. Symptoms commonly associated with TMJ TMD relate to the dental and oral structures, the jaw, TMJ and masticatory (chewing) muscles, or may appear to relate to nearby head and neck structures.

Because of the complex anatomic, physiological and neurological interrelationships in the head and neck, the symptoms of TMJ TMD s can coexist or mimic symptoms of other diseases. It is important for patients to be evaluated by the appropriate doctor(s) to rule out the presence of other primary diseases. TMJ TMD patients frequently experience a combination of symptoms, some of which are listed below.

Painful Symptoms

Headaches, facial, dental pain; Pain in the jaw joints or on jaw movement; Ear pain, tinnitus, ear pressure; Neck, back, shoulder and chest pain.

Dysfunctional Symptoms

Jaw movement: limited, deviated, slow or irregular; Head movement: limited range of motion; Ears: muffling, dizziness, clicking; Throat: difficulty swallowing, prolonged speech; Jaw Joint: joint sounds, locked or dislocated jaw, facial asymmetry.

Dental Destruction

Traumatic occlusion, clenching, grinding (bruxism); Wear (abrasion), chipping on natural, restored or denture teeth; Looseness of teeth: bone loss without gum inflammation; Movement of teeth: spreading, crowding, loss of teeth & bite changes. Patients with TMJ  TMD frequently describe the symptoms listed above even though the TMJ TMD may not be the actual cause of some of the symptoms. Each person suffering from TMJ  TMD may experience a different constellation of symptoms, which can change over time.

Next Topic Causes

Previous Topic What is TMJ TMD