All About Tmj Pain

Tuesday 17th May 2016

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects that lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull. The joints are flexible, allowing the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side. It also enables you to talk, chew and yawn. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) occur as a result of problems with the jaw and jaw joints.

What Causes this Pain?

The cause of TMD is not clear, but dentists believe that symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or parts of the joint itself.

Possible causes include:

  • Injury to the jaw, joint or muscles of the head and neck
  • Grinding or clenching the teeth
  • Presence of osteoarthritis
  • Stress

What Are the Symptoms?

People who suffer from this kind of pain can experience symptoms that can be temporary or last for many years.

Common symptoms can include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, and in or around the ear
  • Limited ability to open the mouth very wide
  • Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open or closed position
  • Clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Swelling on the side of the face

There are many different treatment options available to those who suffer from TMJ pain. Because many other conditions can cause similar symptoms, your dentist will conduct a careful examination to determine the exact cause.