Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction can mimic many other diseases, and therefore is often misdiagnosed or overlooked. Common symptoms include dull aching pain around the ear, often radiating into the face, neck, back of the head, and shoulders.
  • Certain types of headaches, sometimes of migraine proportions.
  • Ringing in the ears, hearing loss, "plugged" ears, ear pain.
  • Tenderness of the jaw muscles.
  • Clicking or popping noises when opening or closing the mouth.
  • Difficulty opening the mouth or chewing, locking of jaws open or closed.
The temporomandibular joints are the hinges located on either side of the face that connect the lower jaw to the skull. Each temporomandibular joint has two sections that permit the hinge and gliding actions needed to open the mouth widely.

The joints work in concert with the facial bones and five pairs of muscles to allow opening and closing of the mouth and forward, backward, and side-to-side movements of the lower jaw. Any disturbance of this facial symphony can trigger the cycle characteristic of TMJ dysfunctions: muscles and joints not working together correctly, causing muscle spasm, resulting in pain, muscle tenderness, and tissue damage.