Your Guide to TMJ Disorder Symptoms and Signs

Do you hear a popping noise when you chew? Have you felt pain in the joint in your jaw? If so, you are experiencing symptoms of a TMJ disorder. Find out more about the symptoms and what causes them in this guide.

What is the TMJ?

The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint. It connects your jaw to your skull and you have one on each side of your face. It moves like a hinge to let you open and close your mouth. This joint contains cartilage and a disc that both helps it to move freely and absorbs shock to make it painless to move your mouth. If there is an injury to the joint, or if either the cartilage or disc breaks down, then you could experience TMJ disorder. There is no definitive answer to what causes this problem, but it can be genetic or a result of teeth grinding, arthritis or an injury.

How Do I Know If I Have This Disorder?

tmj disorder symptoms and signs

If you have a TMJ disorder, you may experience symptoms all the time or only on occasion. For many people, they come and go. The most prominent symptom is pain. You might feel it in any of the following areas:

  • Jaw
  • Neck
  • Ear
  • Face
  • Head

Your jaw area may also feel tender or you may notice you have trouble chewing or that your jaw locks. Popping or clicking when you open and close your mouth is another common symptom.

TMJ Symptoms Treatment

If you are diagnosed with a TMJ disorder, you will usually be treated based on the most likely cause. For example, if your doctor believes that teeth grinding caused you problem, you may have to wear a nightguard in your mouth. If you were injured, you may undergo therapy to help you heal.


You don’t have to suffer from TMJ disorder. You can receive help that can ease your symptoms or make them go away completely. If you want more information, please contact us at the Michigan Head & Neck Institute.