19 Tell-Tale Symptoms And Causes Of TMJ Disorder

Written byTMJ Relief

UPDATE: For detailed information and practical steps to help you beat TMJ disorder naturally, take a look at TMJ No More.

TMJ is an acronym for Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, a small joint disorder with a big name.

It's also referred to as myofascial pain disorder.

Temporomandibular is a joint on your skull that attaches your jaw to your head; the joint is also known as the chewing muscles since it allows for you to chew food and move the jaw up and down.

TMJ (or TMD) is a fairly common condition; it is estimated that at least 20% of all adults will experience TMJ in their lifetime in varying levels and or degrees.

Here are the tell-tale symptoms and causes of TMJ Disorder:

1. Pain

Pain is a universal signal to indicate a problem within your body.

In many cases, therefore, jaw pain will be the most obvious indicator of TMJ.

So, let’s review the pain areas that would lead you to know you have this condition:

Jaw muscles

The muscles around the jaw joint may be painful.

The jaw muscles directly affected are the temporomandibular joint muscles.

They connect the upper and lower jaw to the face allowing for the chewing movement.

Ear pain

Pain, especially in front of the ear, might spread to the cheek, ear and temple area.

The jaw is directly connected to the ear and surrounding areas, so this pain is inevitable.

Earaches are sometimes accompanied by a buzzing or blocked sensation which usually feels like your ear is stuffed or there is an air bubble in there.

You might be able to hear someone speaking,but it almost feels like their voice is vibrating inside your head.


Frequent headaches and migraines may as well accompany the pain.

A pounding pumping and thumping sensation are words used to describe the pain.

You might even have a feeling of nausea.

Other pains

Tongue – the base of the tongue starts to ache.

Temple - You many experience temple pains whenever you clench your jaws.

The areas could also become irritable and experience tenderness, indicating TMJ.

You might also feel a bit of swelling of the temple area.

People with these syndromes might also experience pain in other areas of the body that may not be directly related to the jaw such as shoulder pain especially in the upper region.

2. Muscle spasms

The muscles may clench suddenly or after a prolonged wide yawn.

3. Vertigo

This is a situation where you feel a sense of rotation, rocking back and forth, or the world is spinning.

The sensation may overwhelm you particularly when standing still and may last several hours or even days in some situations. The symptoms of vertigo will often worsen when someone turns or rolls over in bed.

People have attested to nausea and or vomiting accompanying their symptoms.

A point to note is that vertigo and lightheadedness are not the same.

4. Dizziness

Some people experience random sudden bursts of dizziness.

5. Aches

Pains like earaches, neck aches, toothaches are common, and in many cases will preempt the occurrence of TMJ.

As you will have noticed all the areas mentioned are close to the jaw area.

6. Tinnitus

This is a ringing sound in the ear.

It may come about as a result of displaced ear crystals which are usually found in the inner ear.

This ringing sound could also be a result of liquid blockage or the buildup of wax inside your ear.

7. Fatigue on your face

A weird, tired feeling in your face.

**Your face will feel tired which might sometimes feel awkward since it’s an uncommon sensation. **

When your body is tired, your face is, rarely if ever, tired as well.

8. Swelling

The swelling that represents a TMJ possible condition is swelling on the face in particular sides of the face.

The following are the tell-tale causes of TMJ Disorder.

1. Malocclusions

This refers to the misalignment of teeth and the jaw which could lead to a case of lockjaw.

The set of teeth we have usually fit like puzzle pieces, so when a situation arises, for example, when someone goes to the dentist to get a filling and has an excessive lining, the teeth may not fit together leading to malocclusion.

2. Blunt force trauma

If someone is hit in the face with a direct object with excessive force or even someone throws a fist, and you happen to be on the path, your chances of experiencing temporary lockjaw.

In such cases, the chances of dislocating the temporomandibular joint are higher.

3. Chewing gum

As a warning to all those gum chewers,** an overly excessive chewing of gum can lead to a case of TMJ**.

4. Stress

Stress has an effect on many aspects of our lives; including TMJ.

Some people may have an increase in sensitivity to pain due to pressure.

5. Intubation

This happens during surgeries require the mouth to be opened very fast and very wide.

It may, in some situations, lead to jaw pain and ultimately a diagnosis of TMJ dysfunction.

However, as a side note, it does not always happen.

6. Scuba diving

Yes, scuba diving.

The scuba diving mouthpieces are usually small and ill-fitted.

As a result, about 15-20 percent of scuba divers report jaw pain after the trips and will get diagnosed with TMJ disorder.

7. Diseases

Certain diseases increase the chances of TMJ they include conditions like gout, *fibromyalgia, *and rheumatoid arthritis.

8. Use of orthodontic braces.

9. Uneven bite

Often the misalignment of the dental formula.

When you go to a dentist to get your teeth fixed, for instance, get new fillings, dental crowns or dentures, you might have your teeth misaligned, resulting in teeth grinding problem.

Gritting and grinding teeth potentially increases your risk of getting TMJ.

10. Osteoarthritis

This is a syndrome that causes wear and tear of muscles inside of the jaw.

11. Bruxism

This refers to the clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth at night, tends to overwork the muscles and puts pressure on the joint often caused by stress.

In summary

This article should give you a landscape view of TMJ.

The signs and symptoms should be carefully analyzed as they are fairly common to many people.

Regarding statistics, at least 20% of all adults will experience TMJ disorder at least once in their lifetime.

One of the main symptoms affecting people with TMJ disorder is pain.

This pain, which extends to places that are not directly related to the temporomandibular joint, such as the shoulder, causes many discomforts.

Bouts of vertigo and dizziness, diseases that affect bones and muscles; such as arthritis, gout, and myalgia add to the risk of TMJ disorder. Muscle spasms and various types of aches are also signs and symptoms of the disease.

Everyday causes of TMJ touch primarily on stress, excessive chewing, orthodontic braces, and certain illnesses.

It is advisable where the pain becomes excruciating to visit a dentist and get the recommended help.

The advice is especially true if your pain hampers you from working effectively.

Depending on the level of pain you might experience, TMJ tends to grow if not properly attended to.

Home remedies, for example massaging the painful area with a warm cloth, might provide temporary relief.

However, you should always seek medical attention to avoid more complications.

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