What Are the Symptoms of TMD?

Posted by Gorham & Ammarell Dentistry on Jan 23 2023, 10:20 AM

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is a disorder of the jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles. TMD can cause significant pain and impairment in your daily life. Symptoms of TMD include the following.

Jaw Pain

Grinding and clenching the teeth can cause pain in your jaw, neck, and head. The pain may come and go at first, but it will eventually get worse if you do not stop grinding your teeth. You may experience headaches as well as ear pain and ringing in your ears. This is because the symptoms may be felt throughout the face and not just where the pain is originating. You may also feel pain in your shoulders and upper back. Clenching your jaw can also cause tension in your facial muscles leading to pain in the temples and cheek area.

Popping Sounds or Grinding

Some patients may experience loud popping sounds in the jaw, which may lead them to believe they have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). However, this symptom is actually known as “popping” and is a completely normal part of the TMJ system. These noises occur when the joints are moving smoothly during movements such as speaking and eating.

Another symptom of TMD is the grinding of the teeth, which is also known as bruxism. This occurs when the patient unconsciously clenches their jaws together while they are sleeping. 


Many patients with the symptoms of clicking or popping in their mouth are actually suffering from snoring problems. If a patient snores loudly and frequently, it can cause strain on the jaw joint, leading to symptoms such as clicking and painful pressure. Snoring is caused by an obstruction of air passing through the airways during sleep; thus, the best treatment for this problem would be to treat the airway obstruction itself. Patients should talk to a doctor about treatment options for snoring.

Difficulty Chewing

Patients with TMD often experience constant jaw pain, and this can make chewing difficult and painful. The discomfort can make it difficult for patients to eat certain foods. For example, people with sensitive teeth may find that eating hot or cold foods increases their symptoms. Other patients struggle to chew when they have braces on their teeth.

Jaw joint dysfunction can also cause problems with swallowing. Patients may notice that they choke or gag when eating certain hard foods like steak. They may also feel as though they have a lump in their throat after a meal, even after they swallow their food.

Clicking or Locking of Jaw

The clicking and locking of your jaw can be painful, annoying, and even embarrassing. Many people do not even realize that they are doing this throughout the day until they are startled by a loud click or “catch” in their jaw. 

Earaches or Ringing in the Ears

For patients diagnosed with the temporomandibular joint disorder, earaches and ringing in the ears are common symptoms. Similar to migraines, pain in the temples, forehead, or even behind the eyes can be an indicator of TMJ pain. This pain is oftentimes caused by grinding your teeth, which puts pressure on the joints in your jaw. Although common, earaches should not be taken lightly. If left untreated, they could damage your hearing permanently. 

To find out more about the dental services offered at Gorham & Ammarell Dentistry, call (615) 327-4914 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 124 30th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37203.

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