The main symptom of TMJ is chronic pain, which can include toothaches, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, so it is not limited to just around the jaw. There can also be a tenderness, swelling, and/or inflammation around the ear, jaw, and face in general. People also report feeling a “numb” or “tired” sensation on one or both sides of their face. Certain activities can exacerbate these symptoms, most people suffering from TMJ will have discomfort and/or pain while eating and chewing. Your jaw can even make sounds, such as clicking, crackling, or grinding noises (as well as sensations) especially while talking or eating (this may or may not be accompanied by pain). In more severe cases, the jaw can get “locked” or “stuck”, resulting in a person having difficulty opening or closing their mouth, or it may cease to fully close or open altogether.
Since one of the causes of TMJ is teeth grinding, symptoms can also include an uneven alignment of the jaw, leading to sore muscles. Some people experience an “uncomfortable bite”, as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting properly. If the cause of TMJ is an injury or arthritis, then the cartilage in the joint can be damaged, eroded or moved out of it’s proper alignment. A lesser known symptom is tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ears. So many of the senses can be affected by TMJ symptoms.