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6 Tell-Tale TMJ Symptoms


Although TMJ disorders aren’t well understood, many people who have them do experience some common symptoms. Think you may have a TMJ disorder? Check out the list below and see how many of these issues apply to you.

1.”Bite” Issues

Has the way that your top and bottom teeth fit together changed recently? A misaligned bite, also known as a malocclusion, can be a key symptom.

2. Jaw Pain

This one is self-evident, but worth discussing. Basically, if you feel any pain when moving your jaw, it’s possible that you have a TMJ disorder, especially in concert with any of the other symptoms on this list. The pain can be on either side of the jaw and tenderness may extend to the cheeks, ears and neck. It may also feel like a toothache.

3. Jaw Popping and Clicking

Clicking and popping sounds when you open your mouth or move your jaw are actually quite common and typically don’t require medical attention. But when they are accompanied by pain and/or stiffness in the jaw, the problem may be a TMJ disorder.

4. Earaches

Other less obvious TMJ symptoms include aches and pains in and around the ears. Whether it’s a sharp pain or a dull and constant ache, these can also signal a TMJ disorder. A ringing sound or ear numbness may also be an indicator.

5. Stiff Jaw

TMJ disorders can also cause the jaw to “lock” while opening or closing your mouth. In fact, any type of restricted movement when opening the mouth or moving the jaw around can be a TMJ symptom. It may even make eating more difficult.

6. Headaches

A TMJ disorder may not be the first thing you think of when you wonder what’s causing your headache, but that could be the culprit, especially if it occurs alongside any of these other symptoms.

Find out more about TMJ treatments and causes as well as an overview on the condition.

Experiencing tooth or jaw pain? can help you find a dentist near you.

Reviewed by Dr. Natalie Pennington, DDS, January 2019

Additional sources:

Merck Manual
TMJ Disorders

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
TMJ Disorders
More TMJ Information

What is TMJ?