Common Symptoms of TMD

Dr. Hoa Nguyen - Ottawa dentist - Common symptoms of TMD

Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) may vary quite extensively from person to person. They traditionally fall within one of seven areas: teeth and/or gums, head, ears, throat, eyes, face / jaw, neck and shoulder. It is important to note that the presence of one symptom does not necessarily mean that TMD is involved. Traditionally, TMD would present with a number of different symptoms concurrently. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms and would like to know if TMD could be the cause, we suggest a consultation with Dr. Nguyen to assess the symptoms and their possible causes.


Teeth and Gums

  • Sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet stimulus
  • Significant pain in one or more teeth
  • Uncontrolled clenching of the jaw
  • Bruxism (grinding of the teeth at night)
  • Significant grinding or wear on the edges of your teeth
  • Inconsistent wear on the teeth
  • Unexplained shifting of teeth that create spaces or crowding


  • Sharp pain in the forehead
  • Pain that resembles “sinus” headaches
  • Excruciating headaches with a quick onset (symptoms resembling a cluster headache)
  • Recurrent migraines
  • Sensitivity of the scalp to even the lightest touch


  • Continuous buzzing or ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness or problems with balance
  • Pain normally associated with an ear infection (even when there is no infection present)
  • Reduced hearing acuity
  • The sensation that the ears are “clogged” or that sounds are muffled


  • Pain in the tongue
  • Diminished ability to vocalize
  • Recurrent sore throats
  • Difficulty and pain when swallowing
  • General sensitivity and tightness of throat


  • Overly reactive tear ducts – constant watering eyes
  • Frequent episodes of blurred or fuzzy vision
  • Repeated and seemingly random instances of pain in or around the eye (especially behind the eye)
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Chronically irritated or bloodshot eyes
  • Recurring pressure behind the eyes

Face / Jaw

  • A sudden and substantial difference in the way that the upper and lower teeth fit together
  • Facial muscles that feel tight and stiff when you wake up or after speaking for a while
  • Sore cheek muscles
  • Spastic and involuntary jaw movements
  • Distinct popping or clicking noise when chewing or yawning
  • Inability to move the jaw from side to side
  • Difficulty controlling tongue movements
  • Limited opening range of the jaw
  • Significant lateral movement when trying to open and/or close the jaw
  • Difficulty opening or closing the jaw smoothly
  • Continuous pain in the jaw joint

Neck and Shoulder

  • Pain or stiffness of the neck or shoulders
  • Reduced mobility of neck
  • Throbbing aches within the shoulders
  • Recurrent back pain (both upper and lower)
  • Tingling or numbness in fingers or arms