3 Common Signs Of TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder is a condition that affects the function of the temporomandibular joint. Located in front of the ear on both sides of the head, this joint's primary function is the opening and closing of the mouth. If the joint is not properly aligned and seated, it becomes irritated over time, reducing the strength of the connecting muscles and ligaments. This irritation and decreased function is known as TMJ disorder. An estimated 10 million Americans have the condition, but most people are not familiar with TMJ disorder. This guide will help you learn the signs of TMJ to ensure you receive an efficient diagnosis and treatment.

Actual Popping/Clicking

If you hear an actual popping or clicking sound when opening or closing your mouth, you most likely have an issue with the temporomandibular joint.

In most cases, the sound is not heard by others unless they are sitting or standing close to you. However, you will be able to hear the popping/clicking because the joint is located so close to your ear.

Locking of Jaw

Another common sign of TMJ disorder is a locking up of the jaw. This is most common in severe case of TMJ when the joint is severely misaligned and the ligaments and muscles that control the jaw are irritated.

If you have a severe case of TMJ, your jaw may lock up for a few seconds while yawning or when you open your mouth to eat. If the jaw remains lock after a few seconds, you should consult your doctor or dentist immediately.


The ligaments surrounding your temporomandibular joint are also connected to your skull.

The misaligned jaw, popping, pressure, and weakening of the connecting ligaments will cause you to clench the upper and lower jaw, which affects the skull and your head. This causes you to experience headaches and even migraines.

Many patients seek help from their doctor to for headache relief. Unfortunately, determining the cause of these headaches can be difficult because there are so many possibilities. If you are experiencing unexplained headaches and migraines, consult your dentist to determine if the pain is caused by TMJ disorder.

Even though TMJ is a common problem, most people do not even realize they have the disorder. Orthodontic treatment, wearing a mouth guard, and even holistic practices that include massage and physical therapy can all improve the pain associated with TMJ. By learning the signs and consulting a dentist, such as at Brandywine Dental Care , about treatment options, you can reduce the pain and discomfort of TMJ disorder.