TMJ vs. Trigeminal Neuralgia

Both TMJ and trigeminal neuralgia can lead to significant face or jaw pain. Both conditions share similar symptoms, but there are a few symptoms that will indicate if a person has one condition or the other.

TMJ disorder:

The most common TMJ symptom is difficulty opening your mouth or chewing due to pain or muscle spasm. Some TMJ patients have trouble closing their mouth all the way. Know the symptoms:

  • Headache

  • Jaw Pain

  • Ear pain

  • Popping, clicking when opening or closing jaw

  • Being poorly rested

  • Bruxism

Trigeminal Neuralgia:

You have two trigeminal nerves — one on either side of your face. This nerve is responsible for controlling your jaw muscles as well as providing sensory information from your face to the brain. Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition affecting the 5th cranial nerve where the nerve becomes irritated, leading to a spasm or painful sensation in the face.

  • Sharp, shocking pain on one side of the face

  • Pain from one tooth or one ear

These symptoms are typically brought on by triggers that agitate the nerve, such as:

  • brushing the side of your face

  • talking

  • chewing food

  • brushing your teeth

If you experience these symptoms, consult your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis.

David Core