Symptoms and Signs of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 11/12/2021

Doctor's Notes on Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome

Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ syndrome) refers to injury or damage to the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. There are a number of conditions that can cause TMJ syndrome or pain in the area of the joint. Injury to the teeth, misaligned teeth, tooth grinding, gum chewing, and stress are all common causes. Arthritis conditions are another cause of TMJ syndrome. 

Pain in the jaw joint is the major symptom of TMJ syndrome. Other associated signs and symptoms can include:

  • clicking of popping noises when moving the jaw joint,
  • ear pain, 
  • headaches,
  • locking of the jaw joint, or
  • stiff or sore jaw muscles.

While TMJ syndrome can be painful, it is usually not a sign of serious illness and can be effectively treated with home remedies or dental splints.

What Is the Treatment for TMJ Syndrome?

Therapies for TMJ syndrome include both medications and protective measures to help prevent tooth grinding. Surgical procedures may be needed for severe cases. Treatment options include:


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.