Temporomandibular (TM) Disorders - Symptoms
temporomandibular (TM) disorders are usually mild and
temporary and typically do not get worse with time. Common symptoms
- Joint pain when the jaw is moving, as when
opening the mouth widely, chewing, or yawning. Such pain can occur:
- Usually on one side of the jaw, but it can
be on both sides.
- Either gradually or suddenly, as when biting
down on something hard or following a blow to the jaw.
- Muscle pain or tenderness in the face, ear, head,
neck, or shoulders.
- Headaches. In children with TM disorders, these
are often related to grinding the teeth (bruxism).
- Clicking, popping, cracking, or
grating that is painful and occurs when opening the jaw (may be a sign of
disc displacement). Clicking or popping noises without pain are common and do
not require treatment.
- The jaw locking in an open or closed
position or not opening wide (disc displacement). If the jaw locks for more
than a few moments, a muscle spasm usually follows.
See a picture of
areas typically affected by TM disorder pain .
around the ear, with pressure or ringing in the ears (tinnitus), develops with
TM disorders. Some people with these symptoms report that they also have
hearing loss, although test results show that their hearing is normal.
Symptoms often go away on their own, and they may recur over time without
getting much better or worse. Occasional discomfort in the jaw joint or chewing
muscles is quite common and usually is not a cause for concern.
Some people with TM disorders have
facial or jaw pain that lasts a long time (chronic). These people may try
several treatment methods and have little improvement. While treatment can
appear successful to a doctor, pain lingers. This may be due to the lasting
psychological and biological impact of
chronic pain, which can lead to or intensify
anxiety, a sense of helplessness, and biochemical
changes in the body that perpetuate pain.