Muscle twitching that occurs around the area of your jaw, mouth and chin can be quite frightening.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with a TMJ disorder, it is certainly natural to wonder if your TMJ problem is the culprit – especially if you’re scared out of your wits that a neurological disease might be the cause.
Temporomandibular joint disorder is also known as TMD.
“Usually, TMD is associated with jaw pain, click, popping or locking, or limited mouth opening, but muscle twitching is not usually something you see with TMD,” explains Dr. Haissam Dahan, DMD, MSc, PhD, lecturer at Harvard and McGill University and owner of Ottawa TMJ & Sleep Apnea Clinic.
Dr. Dahan continues, “Muscle twitching can sometimes happen if the muscle has been overworked or overstretched. Sometimes a muscle twitch can occur when we are overstressed.”
So it’s possible, then, that the twitching muscles (fasciculations) near your mouth and jaw are related to anxiety you have over the troublesome nature of your TMJ disorder – or anxiety that you have over something unrelated.
But there is nothing intrinsic about TMJ disorder that in any way causes the fasciculations.
Temporomandibular joint disorder—as painful as it can be, and as problematic as it can be — is not a neurological condition.
It does not cause a misfiring of neuronal signals that make muscle fibers jump or twitch.
Dr. Dahan is a general dentist with a focus on TMJ disorder, facial pain, snoring and sleep apnea management.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.