TMJ Disorders

Patient with Jaw Pain

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorders often cause discomfort in the cheek, jaw, or ear areas and can affect normal jaw function.

TMJ conditions fall into three main categories:

  • Myofacial Pain – Creates discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function (grinding teeth can result in this type of TMJ disorder)
  • Internal Derangement of the Joint – Can be a possible indicator of a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle
  • Arthritis – A degenerative inflammatory disorder

Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders can include:

  • Headaches
  • Soreness in the cheek or jaw area
  • Pain in or around the ears
  • Facial pain
  • Tight jaws
  • Popping or clicking sounds when opening mouth
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Difficulty chewing

These symptoms can be intensified by stress.

In less severe cases, TMJ disorders can be treated with self-managed care (eating soft foods, using ice packs, and avoiding extreme jaw movement) or nonsurgical treatments (anti-inflammatory medications, Botox® injections, or the use of stabilization splints). In more severe cases, surgical treatments  such as jaw joint replacements may be necessary.

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