tmj diagramTMJ ( jaw joint ) Therapy and Treatment

Temporomandibular Joint

Immediately in front of the ear on each side of the head is the Temporomandibular Joint, also referred to as the TMJ. This hinge joint connects the lower jaw to the upper jaw. It is very flexible, which allows the jaw to move up and down and side to side smoothly when you chew, eat or yawn.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders


headachesIt is not always clear what causes disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It may be an injury to the jaw, or a heavy blow to the neck and head muscle, which can happen as in the case of a whiplash.

Other possible causes include:

  • Clenching or grinding the teeth, especially when a person is under a lot of stress.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis that has damaged the joint's cartilage.
  • Dislocation of the disc, or soft cushion, between the ball and socket becomes dislocated, causing pain in the jaw or aching in and around the ear.
  • One's 'bite' feels off or uneven
  • Persistent headaches

SYMPTOMS OF TMJ DISORDERS

tmj symptomsTMJ Disorders often times cause severe pain and discomfort. Those with TMD may have experienced some or all of the most common symptoms:

  • When chewing or opening the mouth wide, there is pain the the jaw joint area, possibly even the neck and shoulders.
  • The jaw gets 'stuck' or 'locked' either in the open or closed mouth position.
  • There is a clicking or popping sound when the mouth is opened or closed.

WHEN TO SEE YOUR DENTIST

If the pain and tenderness in the TMJ area persists, or if you can't open your jaw completely, seek attention from your dentist to discuss not only possible causes, but also treatment.