TMJ Awareness Month: 7 Symptoms Related to Chronic Jaw Pain


November is TMJ Awareness Month and a time for Dr. Janet K. Song to share some information about what exactly TMJ is and what signs you should look out for to know if you are suffering from chronic jaw pain.


What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) refers to the joints in your jaw where the mandible (lower jaw bone) meets the temporal bone (the bone in front of your ear). The terms TMJ and TMD (temporomandibular disorder) are often used interchangeably, but both refer to the issues of chronic pain in your jaw area.


What to Look Out For With TMJ

Symptoms of TMJ can present themselves in several ways, including:

  1. Persistent headaches or migraines

  2. Restricted movement around your jaw bone or muscles

  3. Clicking or popping noise while you chew

  4. Earaches or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

  5. Pains around the jaw muscles or in front of your ear

  6. Limited movement in the jaw

  7. Jaw locking

Who is Affected by TMJ / TMD?

TMDs can be experienced in both men and women, and occurs because of a variety of reasons:

  • Misaligned teeth

  • Trauma or injuries to the jaw area

  • Autoimmune diseases (where the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue)

  • Arthritis

  • Prolonged periods of time where your mouth is open during medical procedures

Although this disorder has not been studied as much as doctors would hope, it has been reported that women in their childbearing years express more severe symptoms.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described here, it’s time to visit our dental practice in Fairfax, VA. Dr. Song can examine your oral health and help devise a conservative treatment plan to a) alleviate the short term pain, and b) prescribe the next steps to ensure the issues are resolved in the longer term.

TMJ issues can affect your quality of life as it can cause problems with your sleep patterns and make eating painful. Therefore it’s important to be aware of the TMJ warning signs and be seen by your Fairfax dentist as soon as possible so we can offer at-home treatments to alleviate symptoms as well as create a bespoke dental treatment plan, as you may need a bite guard, physical therapy or even surgery.


We look forward to hearing from you and helping you solve your chronic jaw pain as quickly as possible!