Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome

Question:

What were the symptoms of your TMJ syndrome? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: amandeep, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 28

I have a pain in TM (temporomandibular) joint area and difficulty in opening mouth. The pain increases during chewing.

Comment from: Meerhud, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 01

Three months ago I started having neck pain then ringing in my ears. I went to my doctor, he told me I had sinusitis, and he gave me amoxicillin and decongestant that didn't work. So I went to an ENT and found there was no hearing problem. ENT told me I have TMJ/TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) so I went to emergency. They took a CAT scan and nothing was wrong. Then I went to a neurologist and he ordered an MRI which was normal. After that I saw three more doctors and all told me to see my dentist. I went back to the dentist and he sent me to a TMJ specialist who said I have TMJ, so I just got a night guard. He also told me my tinnitus was from the TMJ and gave me 600 ibuprofen for 7 days.

Comment from: Melbray, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 22

I've had TMJ since I was 12 years old. I'm 34 now, so it's been a 22-year-old problem for me. I'm fortunate that mine doesn't cause a huge amount of daily problems. I've had one bad experience in which it locked and when I forced it open it popped something awful. It caused me a lot of ear pain. So much that I actually thought I had an ear ache and went to the doctor to make certain. I know to not force it open now. I think it was a panic moment at that time. I have noticed that it's slowly getting worse as I get older. It's difficult to be out in the cold. It aches worse and I have trouble talking. The dentist visits are getting very hard. I end up w/ a headache and a jaw ache afterwards. I think I was fortunate to have a good orthodontist when it first started who tried to fix it. He managed to minimize the popping sound which could be heard all the way across a large room and corrected my overbite, but it never fully rid of the TMJ. Now it pops, but only I hear it which I'm thankful for as it would be embarrassing now. I have been told surgery is really a last resort and my pain and problems right now do not warrant for it and I hope never do.

Comment from: Marti, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 16

I am 51, and I have been living with TMJ since I was in my early 20's. I have gone through treatment several times, and it gets very costly! The joints on both sides are totally deteriorated. I guess my jaw is locked shut. I am able to open my mouth one finger wide. I taught myself how to speak with very little movement in my jaw. However by doing so, at the end of the day my whole head, neck, and shoulders are killing me. I'm thinking I might need to learn how to sign, because at the rate I'm going, speaking may no longer be an option for me. I am so frightened of what's to come! Mostly because I can no longer afford treatment. My TMJ has never gone away, it has only gotten worse! What is a person to do when nothing seems to help! TMJ has prevented me from even keeping a steady job.

Comment from: honesty, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 06

I'm 39. I was told a few years ago I had TMJ. Back then the pain was bearable I was able to study/work. Now in my late 3o's the pain has gotten worse. Everytime I'm pregnant the jaw ache/headaches come back, then disappears for a few months. Lately after my two miscarriages, I've noticed the pain has gotten worse. I get visual disturbances and now feel unable to cope with it, especially when you have 2 young children. I feel scared to do anything in case I get stressed then the pain reappears. There must be some cure. I will try acupuncture/complimentary medicine. The thought of living my life like this and not able to enjoy my kids saddens me. I know there are many people out there with serious conditions so I feel blessed in some ways mine isn't life-threatening. I pray that I will get better. I hope everyone finds a cure. I feel I can't tell people how I feel as they won't really understand.

Comment from: PW01, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 31

I got instant relief for my TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome) by doing acupressure on my gall bladder. I found out there is a nerve that goes through the gallbladder right up through the jaw and neck area. I had to change my diet to no sugar, no carbs and lots of vegetables. Now I have a healthy gallbladder and no more TMJ.

Comment from: Debyk, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 29

I have been suffering since my 20s. I ended up on crazy pain meds and have tried everything from splints to physical therapy, biofeedback, and the like. I had surgery a year and a half ago. The surgeon pulled cartilage back into place and shaved down the bone on both sides. Recovery was not too bad. The first two weeks were bad, then I was fine. I have been fine up until two months ago. I have had terrible pain on the right side. The CT scan shows cartilage damaged beyond repair. It hurts to swallow.

Comment from: mainesp, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

I've been suffering with TMJ for probably 10 years or so. I get dizzy; face and head sensitvity and severe headaches. Some days would be worse than others. It would affect my everyday life and work. I took muscle relaxers and mild antidepressants. A co-worker mentioned a chiropractor so I tried that, and it worked for about two years it did wonders. I'd get some headaches but the worst of it was gone. About a month ago something changed and now even the chiropractor doesn't help. I'm at my wits end. I went to my doctor and she gave me a strong pain killer and that didn't even touch the pain. I don't know what to do.

Comment from: GhostGirl, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 22

I've had jaw pain, ear pain, some facial tingling on and off, headaches/migraines, and the most irritating popping and stiffness in my jaw for years now. I'm 26. More recently it has been so bad... It started on one side of my teeth, then migrated to my entire lower jaw, then progressed into my whole head and face, and neck hurting for days. Dizziness, nausea. Nothing really helps so far except stretching it, or drinking hot things, hot compresses. It's frustrating! I had no clue what it could be, my mom kept saying, maybe it's TMJ... I didn't think much of it until I finally looked it up, and ALL the symptoms match exactly!

Comment from: azj, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

Since I have TMJ before & it has gone away on its own. My primary doctor has said that it should just go away again. I can go to a dentist..but I have seen the mouth 'pieces' or 'guards' that they make for you to wear while you are sleeping. Personally, I don't think I would be a good candidate for one since I'm on oxygen at night.

Comment from: pate, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

This sucks!!!! I have had this problem for about 17 years. I just turned 30 and i never thought that my life would be of such discomfort. in the beginning of August my face became numb first then the right side of my tongue and overnight, it went to my right side of my face. I was in and out of the hospital wanting to die of the pain had to drop out of nursing school, and wasn't able to tend to my four children. It is now September and all the symptons are still there, just not the dying pain. I have no life and I have to force myself to do anything. I just want to be normal again. I take so many pills and I am using a splint and I feel a little difference(very little). I need severe help.

Published: September 11

I have had joint pain and severe popping and cracking in my right jaw for 20 years. I am now 35. I have tried all the recommended treatments and have had very little success (braces, night guards etc.). I experience headaches, ear fullness and pain, facial pain in front of my ear, extreme pain when opening my mouth wide to yawn or laugh or eat followed by cracking (that can be heard up to 5 feet away) and dislocation.

Published: September 11

I never clench or grind my teeth and I am constantly doing it now. The side of my face in front of my ear feels swollen, as does that side of my neck and the ear itself. My neck and shoulders ache, and I am constantly swallowing saliva. The back of my neck hurts. My ear rings and kind of feels numb at times. The predominant symptom I have is the neck pain. Even the bone in back of my last tooth feels swollen.

Comment from: Andre8, Published: January 19

I have had TMJ for about 3 months, and it isn't getting any better. When I play the sax, I sometimes get jaw-aches, and am barely able to open my jaw at all. Though my jaw has gotten better from the first few weeks, it limits every day activities.

Comment from: 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: January 13

I've had TMJ for about 8 or 9 years now. I'm only 20 years old and the pains from my jaw are practically paralyzing me. Sometimes I get a chemical pain that overwhelms my head and upper back area. I'm not really sure that there is much to be done for it now. My brother has it too. I know mine is getting worse because of the pain I have been suffering. My chewing has gotten louder too, eating during school lunch hours has become someone embarrassing due to the loud popping my right side is making. I just wish there was a cheaper way of fixing this so I don't fail at life.

Comment from: SherryD, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 04

About 5 yrs ago, after suffering with a "sinus infection" for close to 3 months, taking a few rounds of oral steroids, I decided to go to an ENT doctor. It was he who diagnosed my TMJ. I wasn't having acute sinus infections at all, although I guess having them could affect TMJ. He prescribed me more drugs and sent me on my way. A few days later, after being zonked out on the couch with pain meds (and even they weren't cutting out all the pain), I decided to try acupuncture. I was VERY skeptical! With the first needle he put in, it sounded like a tire deflating. I almost jumped off the table! I stayed, and we finished the treatment. By the time I got to my car the pain was immensely decreased!! The swelling had been so severe, and now was gone...my teeth rattled on that side of my face! That was it, I was a believer! To this day, when I think another bout is coming on, I make an appointment with my acupuncturist right away.

Comment from: gratefulpatient, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 29

I suffered severe trauma to my TMJ in an accident over 30 years ago. It left me with fractures and multiple fractures of almost all of my posterior teeth. I have suffered enormously for the past 30 years and have an incredible wealth of experiential knowledge to pass along to anyone who has TMJ. Resultant from the accident is subsequent dental complications that arise from the death of natural teeth and their limited root life post endodontics. I am thankful and grateful to the some of the finest dental post-grad students and their professors and supervising dentists for the treatment at Tufts NE Dental School. I recommend anyone with TMJ to be seen there in the prosthodontics department .

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 29

I fractured my skull when I was 5 years old. When I was 9 a dentist removed the molar next to my "eye" tooth because the back broke off of the tooth. He didn't put any kind of bridge or whatever they would use to keep my teeth from shifting. When I was 12 I broke my tail bone during a cheerleading practice. When I was 13 I was punched in the jaw by an 18 year old man. When I was 14 I ran into a girl's head with my nose (playing basketball) and was knocked out. My nose was broken. When I was 15 I was hit in the same place on my skull that had been fractured when I was 5. It was another concussion. I had several children and my tail bone was involved. When I was 28 I had a snow blower shoot out from under me and I landed on my chin on the sidewalk. Another concussion. In the last 10 years I've been attacked by 2 dogs while on my roller blades and landed on my (very fragile) tailbone both times. It now sits at an angle that causes pain if I sit too long in one position, like driving a car. Bear with me here. I told you all this because I believe my TMJ was caused by all these accidents put together. If you all think back you might remember a head or back trauma that you'd forgotten about.

Comment from: arleen, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 29

hola.. mi nombre es arleen tengo 30 años y soy assintente dental pero tuve la mala suerte de por ser assistente dental queria lucir unos dientes no perfectos pero bonitos por aquello de dar el ejemplo.estoy en tratamiento de ortodoncia y eso me a causado el sindrme de tmj.mis sintoma son mareos,dolor en la articulacion y mucha molestia dolor de cabeza aveces tengo dificultad al tragar por los espasmos q esta condicion causa . mi pregunta es y si alguie me podria ayudar es que si algun dia voy a sentir alivio porque la realidad es q esto me esta desesperando mi correo es [email protected] ,le estaria muy agradecida gracias

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

My experience with TMJ has been that I have had a loud popping of the jaw. I am also unable to open my mouth all the way, and my bite is slightly off.

Comment from: 65-74 Female Published: December 15

My only symptom was a blinding headache on the right side of my head at the eyebrow bone. Even breathing made it worse. Years before my dentist had warned me I was a good candidate for TMJ. My orthodontist removed three bridges and put braces on my teeth. The bridges had held my teeth solid while the other teeth shifted to the point my jaw had shifted a quarter of an inch to the left through the years. The last bridge was the final straw that brought on the pain in the head. After surgery, that realigned the lower jaw bone, cutting through the bone and screwing it in place. The surgery relieved all the pain and now when I go the dentist they place a block in my mouth so that I can rest my teeth on it and not have to tense my jaw to hold it open. They do this while giving me brief periods of rest. Exercises are also very helpful.

Comment from: 4treasures4me, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 30

I am 32, and have had TMJ symptoms for more than 10 years. Before braces, my jaw was stiff- sometimes I had to work it to be able to open it enough to eat and after braces, it hurts – a lot. The intensity comes and goes and gets worse with stress, and my allergy symptoms. I have pain that radiates into my ear, neck, head; all on the left side. I have struggled with dizziness for nearly 2 years. I wear a retainer at night to keep my teeth straight, but I have had a constant headache for 4 days even with painkillers, which usually work. Chiropractic care used to work, but the last few months the muscles are so inflamed it will not allow the adjustment.

Comment from: Duke, 25-34 Male (Caregiver) Published: November 09

My boyfriend was just diagnosed with TMJ. I have rheumatoid arthritis; I work at a hospital and an urgent care clinic so I had heard of this but not real familiar. His pain came on all of the sudden and he swore that either his upper wisdom teeth were coming in or that he had some type of tooth decay/infection. I took him to the dentist despite the fact he only has medical insurance and no dental insurance. This is how sure he was that it was a tooth. The dentist did 2 x-rays and tapped, poked, and prodded every tooth in his mouth. The dentist suggested he may have a severe sinus infection or ear infection and insisted we go to a doctor right away. We went straight to the urgent care clinic who then diagnosed him with TMJ. So I was shocked when I did research on TMJ and found that a lot of patients were diagnosed by their dentist. Needless to say we both have our fingers crossed that the prescriptions he got work and quickly.

Comment from: Trudy, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 03

- Jaw Pain (intense) - Jaw Pain (dull, constant) - Ear Pain (stabbing, random) - Face Pain - Eye Pain - Extreme pain while eating, talking, yawning, lying down or being reclined on back - Cannot open mouth much

Comment from: hs, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 21

I had serious pain from TMJ after series of long dental treatment. I had to keep my mouth open for a long period of time under quite a bit of stress during visits to dentist. I thought I would rather die than going through the incredible pain in my head. In the mean time, I got one root canal, one tooth extracted for an implant. Who knows whether all these were necessary… After all the dental work was done, I went to an acupuncture doctor. It was like a miracle. Anyone who is suffering from TMJ should try acupuncture. You would not believe. I got it yesterday and I feel like a new person. Please do not suffer. I know what the pain is like. He put about seven or eight needles around my ear and neck on the side I had problem and one on between my thumb and index finger for about half an hour. I will go for another treatment and that's all I need.

Comment from: Diana, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 19

I have been suffering with jaw pain for a little over a month. I am taking Voltaren as well as Tylenol. Everything has been getting better but today, I have been in immense pain all day. I took twice the recommended dose of all of my medicine but it still took the pain almost 8 hours to subside. I am going to try a warm compress now and call my doctor again on Monday. I cannot take another day of this.

Comment from: Sufferer, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

I am 55 years old female and have been living with TMJ since I was in my 20's. I was in a car wreck in 1972 and was not wearing a seat belt. Started having back pain but could not find anything then. Then I hit the 80's and I started to have all kinds of pain. The one that has been the most painful is my TMJ. I was chewing gum and my jaw went into a spasm. Then I would get where I could not open my mouth. Also I would have migraine headaches almost every day. My dentist sent me to a doctor who specialized in TMJ and he started working on my problem. Wore out 3 mouth guards and was still in pain. Sent me to an orthodontist who said I had the worst case of TMJ he had ever seen. We talked about me having my jaws broken 1 at a time and wired back till healed, but could not promise me that it would help. So my TMJ doctor, orthodontist, and oral surgeon after my husband and I suggested pulling my teeth and making me dentures to fix the problem finally decided that would be the least painful for me and it helped for 15 years, but my dentures wore and now I am going through the pain and spasm and clicking I went through the first time. I am now wearing an orthotic right now and hope to get some teeth that will help my problem again. I am thankful that I found my TMJ doctor because I was having so much pain in my face, neck, and back and they were related. He helped me understand what was happening to me.

Comment from: Nick V., 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 08

I had pain in my left ear and jaw that came from grinding my teeth while sleeping, which led to headaches during my waking hours. My dentist noticed the wear patterns during an annual checkup and suggested a night mouth guard for my uppers. When I use the night mouth guard, the TMJ symptoms go away, but it is a bit cumbersome and not very romantic for my wife. As long as I stick with the program, I'm fine. When I stop, the symptoms return within a week.

Comment from: katrina, 45-54 Female Published: October 08

The pain started in my right ear right after I got a crown on my molar and started wearing a night gaurd because I grind my teeth. I still have pain, 2 months later and my right ear has pain and ringing. The ENT doctor said I have TMJ and to eat soft foods, use moist heat and if that dosn't work he will take a MRI or perscribe muscle relaxants. My dentist said my bite and the night guard looks fine.

Comment from: Gigi, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

Funny...I didn't notice TMJ until 1/2 through my Dental Hygiene program. (I guess i was holding my mouth open too much… ha!) I only have it on the right, which causes me too be "off-base". Every day I wake up the pain is there, and every night. I have had some very custom-made bite blocks made. Chiropractic, trigger point injections, morphine...anything short of a miracle. I am not considering getting braces. The TMJ never actually pops out on the right, forcing my jaw shut, since I've have a bite appliance, so that is good. In 2004, it shifted on the right actually forcing my jaw closed about 5-6 times that year. The nerve pain went down through my ear. OMG! The second time, it was lunch, I bit into a cracker and it locked for 45 minutes. I couldn't even make to class, I was bawling...I went over to the head facility of the Dental Hygiene program, and she knew I couldn't open my mouth. She began massaging it, and it released...some scary stuff! I am feeling I should get a specialist. I am 39, and beginning to get stiffer as I age. I am a little concerned about where my pain level would be in 10 years when I start combining this with a little arthritis. Although, I have dental training, I am not an expert at this. I am just like you living on a day-to-day basis. I guess in school, I should've just kept my big trap shut! HA!

Comment from: Zoo, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

I've had a few of the jaw symptoms back in April and after a few months, the symptoms came back. I'm not sure if this is really too serious, but I've had moments where my jaw seems to be locked but after a bit, my jaw would unlock itself. I also experience popping in my jaw occasionally. I don't want to be the kid who cried wolf, but I don't want this to turn into something serious, either...

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 21

I was diagnosed recently with TMJ. My symptoms cause ear ringing and pain from my ear that travels along my jaw down to my chin. Everything feels inflamed. Very painful. Thought I had ear infections and turned out to be this.

Comment from: tom, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 28

My dentist put crowns on tooth numbers 18 and 19 that are at least 2mm short which caused 20 and 21 to wear down and now I'm completely out of occlusion on my left side. I don't brux and don't think I clench, but I often wake up with headaches that will usually subside if I stretch my neck and back in the morning, but I tend to have lower backaches very often on my left side and hip too. I'm curious about the TMJ relationship to this discomfort and want to know the best remedy and long term results if I continue on this course as is since it will cost about $6000 to restore this issue.Tom

Comment from: shirley, 65-74 Female Published: October 28

My son, 40, has been sleeping with a C-Pap machine for 5 years because of Sleep Apnea and now seems to have developed TMJ. He had been experiencing neck, shoulder pain and a popping jaw. Now he is in terrible pain and on pain medications. He is seeing a dental TMJ expert and will have to use a mouth piece to try and relieve the inflammation. He may need surgery. Seems the C-Pap machine might have caused the problem. I wondered if anyone else on a C-Pap was also having TMJ problems.

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Medically reviewed by Kenneth Rotskoff, MD, DDS; Board Certified Dentistry, Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery

REFERENCE:

United States. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. "Study Evaluates Risk Factors for Chronic Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorders." Nov. 10, 2011. <https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/Research/ResearchResults/NewsReleases/PressStatements/ChronicTMJD.htm>.

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