May 29, 2016

Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

What causes TMJ syndrome?

The causes of TMJ syndrome are not completely understood. Multiple factors contribute to the muscle tightness and dysfunction that characterize this condition. It is not clear whether some of these causes directly lead to TMJ syndrome or if they are a result of the disorder. Causes may include

  • misalignment (malocclusion) of or trauma to the teeth or jaw,
  • teeth grinding (bruxism),
  • poor posture,
  • stress or anxiety,
  • arthritis and other inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders,
  • orthodontic braces, and
  • excessive gum chewing.

What are TMJ syndrome symptoms and signs?

The main symptom of TMJ syndrome is pain in the jaw joint. This joint is located just in front of the ear, and pain associated with TMJ syndrome may involve the face, eye, forehead, ear, or neck. Signs and symptoms of TMJ syndrome include the following:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw, especially at the area of the joint
  • Popping/clicking of the jaw
  • Pain that feels like a toothache
  • Ear pain or sounds of cracking in the ears
  • Ringing or popping sounds in the ears (tinnitus) or a sense of fullness in the ears
  • Headaches, including migraines
  • Blurred vision
  • Tight, stiff, or sore jaw or neck muscles
  • Muscle spasm in the jaw
  • Facial pain, mouth pain, cheek pain, or chin numbness or tingling
  • Pain at the base of the tongue
  • Pain, swelling, or a lump in the temple area
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Shoulder pain
  • Locking or dislocation of the jaw (usually after widely yawning), referred to as lockjaw
  • Dizziness or vertigo Continue Reading
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Reviewed on 3/29/2016
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