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Classic TMJ/TMD Symptoms

Temporomandibular disorders can manifest with wide array of symptoms. Due to the complex anatomic, physiological and neurological interrelationships in the head and neck, the symptoms of TMDs can coexist or mimic symptoms of other disease entities. It is thus essential that a patient to be evaluated by an experienced clinician to rule in/out the presence of other primary diseases.

Most TMD patients have one or more of the 3 cardinal (“classic”) TMD symptoms:

  1. Joint Pain
    The patient experiences pain in the TMJ which is immediately in front of the ear. Joint pain is exacerbated with jaw movements.
  2. Limited Oral Opening
    Most people can place the tips of their index, middle, and ring fingers held vertically in the space between the upper and lower front teeth without forcing. If you can’t do this or can do it painfully, you probably have a problem with the TMJ.apparatus. Protrusive (jutting jaw forward) and lateral jaw movements are often diminished. The jaw may deviate with opening, or lock open or closed.
  3. Joint Noises
    The TMJ movements are normally silent. Abnormal joint noises include clicking, popping, snapping, grating and grinding. You may have joint noises without other dysfunction.

Other Common Symptoms

Other Common TMD Symptoms include:

  • Ear symptoms: ear pain, ear pressure tinnitus (ringing), hearing loss, dizziness
  • Headaches, usually at the temples and side of head
  • Neck pain
  • Facial pain

Less Frequent TMD Symptoms

  • Dental pain
  • Shoulder/arm pain/chest pain
  • Throat pain, difficulty swallowing