5 Jaw-Dropping Facts about TMJ


San Francisco and Marin CA

If you have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, then you’re one of approximately 10 million Americans who suffer from the condition that causes pain in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement.

TMJ disorder, which is more common in women than men, can cause facial pain, chronic headaches, worn teeth, a clicking or popping in the jaw and ringing or pain deep in the ears. Many people, unfortunately, never mention these symptoms to their doctors or dentists. But our TMJ dentist in the San Francisco area hopes to change that by sharing five jaw-dropping facts about this disorder and how it can be non-invasively treated to relieve some of your symptoms.

Chronic headaches

If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, TMJ disorder — which occurs due to tension and stress on the jaw joint muscles — could be the culprit. As inflammation develops and blood flow is restricted, nerves compress in the jaw, face and head, directly resulting in head pain and sometimes neck and back pain, too. If your over-the-counter pain relievers aren’t helping your chronic headaches, talk to our Bay Area TMJ specialists at Glen Park Dental to see if TMJ disorder could be behind your pain.

Dental pain/Toothaches

Just like our entire bodies, the face, head, jaw, mouth, teeth and tongue are designed to work harmoniously together. But when something is out of balance, it can cause pain to radiate to other areas. For instance, TMJ disorder can make people clench and grind their teeth — this usually happens during sleep with a condition called Bruxism — but the pain signals could travel throughout the mouth so that it mimics tooth pain. Tooth pain that doesn’t have an obvious cause, such as decay or cracks, could be caused by TMJ disorder.

Tinnitus/Ringing in ears

The termomandibular joints are like hinges connecting the jaw to the skull. The mouth should be able to open and shut smoothly and without discomfort. The ear canals are located in close proximity to the jaw joints, so when the jaw joints are inflamed, it could make the ears have a full or stopped-up feeling. Some sufferers report having tinnitus, or ringing in the ears that doesn’t subside.


TMJ disorder has a wide range of symptoms, and if severe cases are left untreated, it can cause pain throughout various parts of the body. Some research has linked TMJ disorder to fibromyalgia because many physicians are not trained to diagnose and treat the disorder. A dentist like ours in Marin is the best-trained practitioner to see for TMJ disorder.

You have options.

Some people assume that surgery is the only remedy for TMJ disorder. While surgical intervention could be a possibility in the most severe cases after more conservative measures have failed, it isn’t the only option. Oral appliance therapy is a simple, effective way to address TMJ disorder. Oral appliances stabilize the bite, relieving inflammation and pain in the jaw joint. Long-term results could include relief from other TMJ symptoms, too.

TMJ Disorder in the Bay Area

If you believe you may have TMJ disorder and would like to consult with our Glen Park Dental team about solutions to help relieve your discomfort, call us at (415) 799-3900, or reach us online to schedule a consultation today.