Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome (cont.)
TMJ Syndrome Symptoms and Signs
- Pain in the facial muscles and jaw joints may radiate to the neck or shoulders. Joints may be overstretched and muscle spasms can occur. The pain may occur with talking, chewing, or yawning. Pain usually appears in the joint itself, in front of the ear, or it may move elsewhere on the, face, scalp or jaw and lead to headaches, dizziness, and even symptoms of migraines.
- TMJ syndrome may cause ear pain, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and hearing loss. Sometimes people mistake TMJ pain for an ear problem, such as an ear infection, when the ear is not the problem at all.
- When the joints move, they may produce sounds, such as clicking, grating, and/or popping. Others may also be able to hear the clicking and popping sounds. This means the disc may be in an abnormal position. Sometimes no treatment is needed if the sounds do not cause pain.
- The face and mouth may swell on the affected side.
- The jaw may lock in a wide open position (indicating that it is dislocated), or it may not open fully at all. Also, upon opening, the lower jaw may deviate to one side. Some people may experience favoring one painful side or the other by opening the jaw awkwardly. These changes could be sudden. The teeth may not fit properly together, and the bite may feel odd.
- Muscle spasms associated with TMJ syndrome may cause difficulty swallowing.
- TMJ syndrome can also cause headache and dizziness, potentially leading to nausea and/or vomiting.
- Some individuals with TMJ syndrome may have a history of poor dentition or emotional distress.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/9/2015
Steven S. Bhimji, MD, MSc, PhD
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