TMJ Face Distortion: How to Fix & Prevent Swollen TMJ Face

Learn practical tips and techniques to address and prevent swollen TMJ face, a common symptom of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
Medically reviewed by
Certified specialist with 5 years of extensive dental and orthodontic experience
TMJ Face Distortion: How to Fix & Prevent Swollen TMJ Face
Install the mewing app

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. Your temporomandibular joints are located on both sides of your face, just in front of your ears. 

The TMJs connect your lower jawbone to your skull and assist in movements like chewing and speaking.

If you have an imbalance in the TMJ, you may experience symptoms that can lead to discomfort, such as:

  • Tooth damage
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Neck pain

Over time, these TMJ symptoms can worsen and alter the shape of your face, causing face distortion or asymmetry. A facial distortion can make people conscious about their looks and lead to feelings of insecurity. Since TMJ can be tricky to diagnose, some people go on to suffer for many years.

However, once diagnosed, TMJ treatment can reduce and eliminate the symptoms of this disorder, including facial asymmetry. This can be anywhere from immediate to several weeks depending on the severity of the symptoms.

How TMJ Disorder Can Ruin Your Face?

TMJ can cause changes in your facial appearance. This can lead to a crooked grin or facial asymmetry.

If left untreated, TMJ can cause severe damage to the face over time. As the jaw continues to be misaligned, the teeth may even shift out of the place, worsening bite problems

It’s crucial you get treatment early to prevent potential damage or changes to your face.

Get a better jawline in just 28 days

Get rid of a double chin and get an attractive jawline with a daily mewing workout

TMJ Disorder Symptoms

TMJ disorder presents itself in several ways. Below are some symptoms to watch out for.

  1. Popping or Clicking

This is a common symptom that you might notice as you flex your jaw. 

Popping or clicking rarely causes pain or discomfort. While you may not require treatment for this, it’s best to speak to your dentist right away.

  1. Jaw Pain

TMJ disorder can cause pain in the jaw as you chew, yawn or speak. Jaw pain is a result of teeth misalignment.

  1. Locking Jaw

TMJ disorder can cause your jaw to be locked. You may find it hard to open your mouth or close it. When you finally do, it may make a loud click as it pops into place.

  1. Swollen Face

As the muscles and tissues surrounding the jaw joint become inflamed as a result of chronic clenching, jaw pain, and teeth damage, this can lead to swelling in the face. Overworked muscles may also lead to bulging.

Swelling can affect one or both sides of the face and can result in pain or discomfort.

Source: TMJ Treatment

  1. Tooth Damage and Difficulty Chewing

Teeth misalignment as a result of bite problems can make it difficult to chew. This may result in chewing on one side of your mouth, which may lead to face distortion over time.

  1. Headaches and Migraines

TMJ disorder is a common cause of headaches including chronic headaches, migraine, tension, and cluster headaches. 

  1. Other Symptoms

TMJ disorders can also cause other symptoms including:

  • Ear pain
  • Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
  • Hearing problems
  • Vertigo
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling in your face, fingers, or arms
  • Neck, back, and shoulder pain

Do You Have Face Distortion from TMD?

Face distortion from TMJ disorder can manifest in different ways such as altering the shape of the face, face swelling, and face tingling.

TMD Disorder face shape

Source: EVDP

Your jawline may become unbalanced and cause facial asymmetry with one side of the face hanging lower than the other. You could also have a crooked grin.

TMD face swelling

A swollen face is another consequence of TMJ face distortion. Your face may appear puffy as a result of muscle and tissue inflammation. Additionally, because of the imbalance in the jaw, one of the jaw muscles may work harder than the other, which can cause an enlargement of those muscles, giving the perception of a swollen face.

TMD face tingling

When the facial muscles and tissues surrounding the jaw are inflamed, it may irritate the nerve (trigeminal nerve) that supplies sensation to the face. 

This can cause a tingling or numb sensation in the face, particularly around the jaw, cheeks, and ears.

Mewing: x10 Your Looks

✓ Get an attractive jawline
✓ Boost your self-confidence
✓ All techniques in a one app

Learn more

What Causes Face Asymmetry in TMJ?

There are two major causes for asymmetry resulting from TMJ — the teeth and the jaw muscles.

TMD forces you to chew on one side of your mouth, which can wear down the teeth on that side quickly. This causes the side of the jaw to hang lower and give a slanted look when the teeth are closed. 

As it relates to the jaw, facial asymmetry causes the muscles on one side of the jaw to work harder than the other. The overworked muscles, in turn, overdeveloped and lead to bulging or a swollen face.  

Other causes can also be responsible for asymmetry in TMJ such as:

  • Joint displacement
  • Bone irregularity, and
  • Spinal imbalance 

What to Do When a TMJ Dislocation Occurs?

A TMJ dislocation occurs when the condyle of the jaw moves forward out of its usual position. This overstretched the ligaments and muscles, causing intense pain in the face. Dislocation can be acute or recurring.

If you have a TMJ dislocation, it’s advisable to see your dentist immediately. Your dentist will push the dislocated jaw back into place. This procedure is called a TMJ reduction. This should be done promptly as soon as the dislocation occurs. Delaying can make reduction more difficult.

TMJ reduction rarely involves the use of local anesthetic. 

TMJ Disorder Facial Asymmetry Treatment

If you have facial asymmetry caused by TMD, the good news is that there are treatment options available that can eventually return facial symmetry.

Temporary Orthotic

A temporary orthotic is helpful to correct facial asymmetry caused by misalignment of the teeth leading to an imbalance in the jaw muscles. 

A temporary orthotic will realign your bite while your dentist works on rebuilding damaged teeth and reconstructing the mouth. Additionally, this treatment will help to prevent the overdevelopment of the jaw muscles which can cause bulging in the face.

Returning symmetry to the face using this treatment option can take a longer time compared to surgery. 

Total Condylectomy & Joint Replacement

In some cases, it might be necessary to take out the condyle and replace the joint totally via surgery. 

Titanium implants are frequently used for this procedure and customized to fit the patient.

Genioplasty Surgery

In cases where the chin is tilted or off-center as a result of asymmetry caused by hyperplasia or hypertrophy, symmetry to the face can be returned with a genioplasty surgery, which involves a chin implant.

Orthognathic Surgery

Severe misalignment of the jaw often requires orthognathic surgery to fix it. If the lower jaw is moved too far back, it can block the airway and cause sleep apnea. To fix this, surgery on the mandible or maxilla might be needed to correct the asymmetry of the face caused by an overgrowth of the jaw muscles.

Natural Treatment for TMJ Face Distortion

If you have been wondering if there are natural treatment alternatives to surgery, there are. While these treatment options may not produce results as fast as surgery, they can eventually return symmetry to the face after some time.

Massage Therapy

Research indicates that massage therapy may be helpful in managing TMD symptoms. 

You can get a TMJ disorder massage from a professional therapist. There are also safe self-massages you can try on your own.

#1: Masseter cross-fiber massage

Here are the steps you need to take:

  • Clench both of your hands to make fists.
  • Position your knuckles directly under your cheekbone, about an inch away from your ear
  • Apply steady pressure and make small semi-circles by moving your knuckles forward
  • Repeat the semi-circular motions continuously for about 30-60 seconds
  • Pause for a moment and then repeat the exercise with your mouth open

#2: Masseter kneading massage

Here are the steps you need to take:

  • Locate the masseter muscle by placing your hands on your cheeks and clenching your jaw.
  • After feeling the muscle engage, relax your jaw.
  • Gently grasp the muscle and pull it away from your face, then move it side to side.
  • Release and repeat the process, moving up the muscle.

#3: Suboccipital friction massage

Here are the steps you need to take:

  • Using the first two fingers or thumb of both hands, locate the bony protrusions just above where the skull meets the neck.
  • Firmly press into the muscle at the back of the skull and rub it back and forth.
  • Cover as much of the bony protrusion as you like and continue massaging for 30-60 seconds.

Acupuncture in the Face and Lower and Upper Jaw

Acupuncture is a natural alternative to surgery for treating TMD. Small needles are inserted around the face, jaw, ears, and masticatory muscles (these muscles help you chew and grind).

Acupuncture for TMJ can help:

  • Reduce discomfort and pain
  • Improves the muscles that help you close and open the jaw
  • Reduce inflammation


Mewing Before & After

Mewing is a safe treatment for TMJ face distortion. It is a technique of placing the tongue in the mouth against the palate. This is the natural position of the tongue, and over time improves teeth alignment, makes the face more chiseled, and brings back symmetry to the face.

However, mewing must be done correctly and consistently for it to bring the desired results. 

To learn how to mew correctly download our mewing app and get access to hundreds of mewing techniques to fix face distortion.

Everything you need for mewing in one app:

1. Learn the correct technique

2. Make it a habit

3.Track your progress


Before and After TMJ Disorder

Life before TMJ treatment can be full of pain and discomfort. While TMJ disorder is not life-threatening, ignoring treatment can lead to severe consequences.

  • Chronic pain
  • Permanent jaw joint damage
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Anxiety and depression

Whereas, TMJ treatments such as mewing can lead to pain-free living, bring back symmetry to your face, and restore your confidence.

Source: Dr Larry Wolford

Maintaining Results

As you begin treatment for TMJ face distortion, it’s essential you follow the guidelines outlined by your surgeon, acupuncturist, therapist, or mewing expert. This may include:

  • Brushing twice a day and flossing daily
  • Elevating your head while you sleep
  • Avoiding strenuous activities
  • Eating soft foods after your surgery
  • Wearing your splint or braces as recommended
  • Following up for post-surgery visits
  • Mewing consistently


If you’re experiencing face distortion as a result of TMD, there is hope. You can bring back symmetry to your face by using any of the treatment options outlined above.

If you’re considering mewing, then download our app today to start doing medically approved and simple mewing exercises. Numerous people suffering from TMJ face asymmetry have used mewing to eliminate their insecurities.

You can give it a try by downloading our mewing app so you can fix the symmetry to your face and restore your confidence!


Can TMJ Disorder Cause Tingling in the Face?

Yes. Muscles and tissues surrounding the jaw can become inflamed and irritate the nerve (trigeminal nerve) that supplies sensation to the face. This can cause a tingling or numb sensation in the face, particularly around the jaw, cheeks, and ears.

Can TMJ Disorder Cause Face Numbness?

Yes. TMJ can cause face numbness when the trigeminal nerve gets irritated resulting from inflammation of the muscles around the jaw.

Can TMJ Disorder Cause Swelling on One Side of the Face?

TMJ can cause swelling on one side, or both sides of the face. As misalignment of the teeth causes one side of the jaw to hang lower, one of the jaw muscles may work harder than the other, which can cause an enlargement of those muscles, and lead to bulging in the face.

The information provided in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or a substitute for professional guidance. Mewing and other techniques mentioned on this website may not be suitable for everyone, and individual results may vary. We strongly recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare professional, such as an orthodontist, dentist, or myofunctional therapist, before starting any new oral or facial exercises, particularly if you have existing dental, orthodontic, or health concerns.
Written by
Yury Nebyshynets
May 17, 2023