9 Symptoms of TMJ

Many people have heard about TMJ before, but what exactly is it? The true name of the disorder is Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, or TMJ Dysfunction; but, it is often shortened simply to “TMJ.” Most people associate the Temporomandibular Joint with any jaw disorders, but it can be quite hard to self-diagnose. Luckily, there are plenty of doctors, dentists, and even TMJ specialists who can advise you as to whether your jaw pain is related to Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction, and why it is occurring. TMJ dysfunction often occurs because the joint itself is not operating properly. The temporomandibular joint is made up of bones covered by cartilage; the bones are separated by a small disk that is meant to absorb shock and keep the movement between the bones smooth. The functions of the jaw are made possible by this joint, and its combination of sliding and hinge-like motions. Dysfunction can occur most commonly when the disk moves or erodes, or if the cartilage is damaged in any way.

1. Ear Pain

It may seem surprising to think that TMJ Dysfunction causes ear pain; however, the ear canal is closely related to, and affected by, the jaw area. Particularly when TMJ Dysfunction is caused by jaw overuse, such as teeth grinding, spasms can occur which have a great effect on the ear canal. Any type of jaw damage, whether it stems internally or is from an injury, can create stress and pressure on the surrounding jaw muscles and joints. In turn, the pressure will form tenderness or pain that will emit pain towards the ear area.

People experience pain in the ear caused by Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction in many different ways. It can vary from person to person, but a single person may also describe different types of pain. It can vary from dull and ongoing, to sharp and intense, or even anywhere in between. The pain will definitely feel as though it is coming from the ear, but it is often felt in or around it, sometimes even on the face area between the ear and jaw. Most notably, ear pain is often simultaneous with a noticeable clicking sound. While ear pain is common for TMJ disorders, there are other symptoms that typically go along with it before knowing for certain that it is caused by the joint dysfunction.