Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) is commonly called TMJ. “TMJ” presents with numerous signs and symptoms which include: a clicking or popping jaw and mild discomfort to complete jaw dysfunction and severe debilitating pain. Many can experience a varying combination of these symptoms with varying degrees of discomfort. Many discover that these symptoms may be transient and go away with or without treatment. However, for many others, it can be the beginning of a long, agonizing and frustrating life where lives are disrupted, dreams shattered, families torn apart and people left bankrupt, desperate and without hope.
If you have TMJ, you may have spent years of your life and thousands of dollars being referred from one doctor to another hoping for relief. Doctors may have told you that you are crazy or need to better handle your stress. They may have told you that you don’t have pain. They may even have abandoned you, saying there is nothing more to be done for you…that is, after you have spent thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars on treatments.
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. You are not crazy and you are not to blame if you haven’t gotten better. It is possible that you have received one or many of the over 49 treatments being recommended to TMJ patients in this country, most being sold on the basis of the doctor’s preference and not on scientific evidence of safety or effectiveness. The treatment may, in fact, be making you worse. You may feel caught in a quagmire. Your personal experience may be that there is a great deal of disagreement among professionals about most aspects of Temporomandibular Joint Diseases/Disorders.
This list of subjective symptoms is by no means exhaustive, but does provide a good idea of the nature of the complaints that are often made by those suffering from TMD.
If you would like a printable check off list of these symptoms, see the Self-Referral page.
The symptoms most commonly cited are:
- Facial pain
- Jaw joint pain
- Back, Neck, Cervical pain
- Postural problems (forward head posture)
- Pain in the joint(s) or face when opening or closing the mouth, yawning, or chewing
- Headaches (tension type)
- Pain in the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joints
- Pain in the occipital (back), temporal (side), frontal (front), or infra-orbital (below the eyes) portions of the head
- Pain behind the eyes
- Swelling on the side of the face and/or mouth
- A bite that feels uncomfortable, "off," or as if it is continually changing
- Clenching and/or bruxing
- Tender, sensitive teeth
- A limited opening or inability to open the mouth comfortably
- Deviation of the jaw to one side
- The jaw locking open or closed
- Ringing in the ears, ear pain, diminished hearing, and/or hyperaccusis Sinus like symptoms
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Visual Disturbances
- Tingling in fingers and hands
- Insomnia – difficulty sleeping