• The primary symptom of temporomandibular joint disease or disorders is pain in the jaw joint, on either one or both sides, or the closely surrounding areas. Other symptoms include:

    • Soreness or aching around the ear
    • Stiffness in the jaw
    • Locking of the jaw joint or limited movement so that it is difficult to open or close the mouth
    • Headaches or aching in the face, head, neck, shoulders or back
    • Radiating pain in the face, jaw or neck
    • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, eating, speaking or breathing
    • Painful clicking or popping in the jaw joint during jaw movement
    • Altered, uncomfortable or uneven bite

    Occasional mild to moderate pain in the chewing muscles is not uncommon and should not be cause for concern. Popping or clicking noise in the jaw joint is also normal and need not be addressed unless accompanied by pain, discomfort or limitation of movement.

    Patients with TMJD frequently experience more than one of the above signs of the condition. However, it may be difficult to diagnose a TMJ disorder because these symptoms are also common of a number of other conditions including cavities, abscess in the mouth, or sinus or ear infection.

    Some other diseases are commonly experienced along with TMJD. Other conditions including arthritis, myofascial pain, fibromyalgia, hypermobile joints, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disorders, Lyme disease, scleroderma, dystonia, or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, are thought to have an effect on, perpetuate or worsen TMJD symptoms.

    If TMJD is suspected, an individual may want to keep a record of any symptoms that occur so that they may share them with a doctor. Take note of any activities that may trigger the pain, any trouble sleeping, the range of symptoms experienced, any recent dental procedures and new activities or stress that may be occurring in your life. Also observe changes to the range of motion in the jaw, any changes in alignment of the jaw, and any points of pain or discomfort to the touch.