Overlooked TMD Disorder Symptoms: What You Need to Know

Overlooked TMD Disorder Symptoms: What You Need to Know

Your temporomandibular joint plays an important role in your daily life, even if you don’t know what it is. This joint connects your jaw to key areas of your skull, allowing you to perform such basic daily activities as chewing and talking.

However, disorders can impact this joint’s function. This is called a TMD disorder or TMJ disorder. Unfortunately, the medical community has not reached a consensus regarding what causes these conditions. A number of factors may be responsible, including genetics, teeth grinding, and injury.

On the bright side, an oral surgeon can often correct the underlying issue and relieve your symptoms—if you know what symptoms to be on the lookout for. Many people are unfamiliar with the signs of a TMD disorder. Additionally, some of the symptoms associated with this health condition may be mistaken for signs of another problem, like stress.


That’s why the following information is important. Common symptoms of a TMD disorder include pain around the jaw area and a feeling of the jaw getting locked in place at times. Typically, a person will seek out treatment if they notice these warning signs.

However, this blog will specifically cover signs that could be mistaken for symptoms of another issue. If you experience these symptoms on a regular basis, a TMD disorder may actually be the culprit. Get in touch with an oral surgeon to learn more about treatment options.



TMD disorders have been known to result in frequent ear pain. Of course, it’s easy to mistake this as a symptom of an ear infection or related problem.

That’s why you should always see a doctor as soon as possible if you experience this type of discomfort. If your physician takes a closer look and is unable to identify any signs of an ear infection, you can then speak with an oral surgeon to find out if a TMD disorder is actually responsible for your pain.


A General Tired Feeling in the Face

tiredPeople with TMD disorders often notice their faces feel generally “tired.” In some cases, this feeling manifests itself as an overall sense of fatigue.

It’s easy to attribute this symptom to a different problem, like stress. This is particularly true when you consider the fact that stress has been known to exacerbate TMD disorders.

However, that doesn’t mean stress is necessarily the reason you’re experiencing this particular symptom. When you have a TMD disorder, moving your jaw requires more effort than it typically does for most people. Thus, you’ll experience the same kind of fatigue you would experience if you were forced to strain any other joint or muscle in your body on a regular basis.

Speak to an oral surgeon if you have this problem. Stress may not be the only contributing factor. More importantly, with the right treatment, you could potentially relieve your symptoms.


Difficulty Breathing

The position of your TMD joint impacts the position of your tongue in the mouth. If the joint is misaligned, your tongue may block your mouth’s airway. This can make it difficult to breathe, especially at night as you’re trying to sleep.

Difficulty breathing at night may be related to sleep apnea. This condition can have a wide range of negative effects on your comfort and wellbeing throughout the day. However, if sleep apnea is not responsible for the problem, a TMD misalignment may be.

An oral surgeon can treat both of these conditions in many cases. Seek one out to avoid the chronic fatigue and emotional/mental difficulties that can arise when difficulty breathing prevents you from sleeping well.


Neck and Shoulder Pain

Most people with some understanding of TMD disorders expect them to result in facial pain. What they may not realize, however, is that a TMD disorder can also result in pain around the neck and shoulders.

This discomfort sometimes accompanies this condition because the TMD joint plays a key role in making sure your head is properly balanced. When the joint is misaligned, your head can place excessive stress one area of its overall support system, resulting in pain. Because this pain is not always located in the face, people often don’t realize it can be linked to a TMD disorder.

Of course, you should absolutely seek out treatment for this condition if you notice any of the common warning signs. However, you also need to know about other symptoms that people overlook or attribute to other causes.

Many TMD disorders can be addressed via oral surgery. An oral surgeon corrects the misalignment, alleviating the patient’s symptoms as a result. The patient just needs to know what symptoms to be on the lookout for.