TMJ: More Than Clicking

You may have heard of TMJ, often associated with a clicking sound in the jaw. However, TMJ is more than just a noise. It refers to temporomandibular joint disorder, which affects the jaw joint and surrounding structures. TMJ disorder can cause a range of symptoms that go beyond clicking, leading to pain and discomfort in daily life. By understanding TMJ beyond the clicking sound, you can seek appropriate treatment and find relief.

TMJ: More Than ClickingUnderstanding the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jawbone to your skull. It allows for smooth jaw movement, enabling essential functions such as talking, chewing, and yawning. The TMJ is a complex joint with various components, including muscles, ligaments, discs, and bones. When any of these components become compromised or experience dysfunction, it can lead to TMJ disorder.

Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

If you experience TMJ symptoms, discussing them with your dentist is important. Without treatment, TMJ could progress to a more serious condition. 

Jaw Pain and Discomfort

One of the primary symptoms of TMJ disorder is jaw pain or discomfort. This pain can be localized to the jaw joint itself or radiate to the surrounding areas, such as the face, neck, and shoulders. It may worsen when chewing, speaking, or opening the mouth wide.

Clicking, Popping, or Grinding Sounds

While clicking sounds are often associated with TMJ disorder, it is not the only auditory symptom. Some individuals may experience popping, grating, or grinding sounds when moving the jaw. These sounds occur due to the misalignment or dysfunction of the TMJ components.

Limited Jaw Movement

TMJ disorder can restrict the range of motion in the jaw. Some individuals may find it challenging to open their mouths wide or move their jaw from side to side. This limitation can affect eating, speaking, and even oral hygiene practices.

Headaches and Facial Pain

TMJ disorder can cause chronic headaches, including tension headaches and migraines. The pain may be felt in the temples, forehead, or back of the head. Facial pain, particularly in the jaw area, can accompany TMJ disorder.

Ear-related Symptoms

TMJ disorder can manifest as ear-related symptoms, such as earaches, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or a feeling of fullness in the ears. These symptoms occur due to the proximity of the TMJ to the ear structures.

Treating TMJ Disorder

If you suspect you have TMJ disorder, it’s essential to seek professional dental care for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. 

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliances, such as splints or mouthguards, can help reposition the jaw, reduce clenching or grinding, and relieve TMJ symptoms. These appliances are custom-made to fit your mouth and address your specific needs.


Over-the-counter pain medications or muscle relaxants may be recommended for temporary relief to manage pain and reduce muscle tension. Sometimes, your dentist may prescribe stronger medications or recommend injections to target specific TMJ-related pain.

Dental Treatments

In severe cases of TMJ disorder, your dentist may recommend dental treatments, such as orthodontic adjustments, dental restorations, or bite adjustments, to correct misalignment or bite issues contributing to TMJ symptoms. If you would like more information on how we diagnose and treat TMJ disorders, please visit TMJ treatment