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TMJ/TMD

What Is It?

To understand what Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction is you have to know where to begin.  TMJ is the joint in your jaw and generally located in front of your ear. This joint allow your jaw to move up and down and from side to side.  You have a hinge or joint located on each side of your jaw.  When you experience pain and sometimes headaches when eating or opening and closing your mouth, you may be experiencing TMD disorder. This disorder will cause pain in the jaw joint and muscles. This condition is also known as TMJ or TMJ Syndrome.

TMJ disorders are often difficult to determine.  There are a lot of factors that may contribute to your pain.  These may include genetics, arthritis or jaw injury.   Teeth clenching or grinding (bruxism) are also known to contribute to TMJ disorders.

In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders can be managed with nonsurgical treatments. Surgery is typically a last resort after conservative measures have failed, but some people with TMJ disorders may benefit from surgical treatments.

Signs of TMJ

Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:

  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw
  • Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
  • Aching pain in and around your ear
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth

TMJ disorders can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew. But if there’s no pain or limitation of movement associated with your jaw clicking, you probably don’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder.

When to see a doctor

If you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw, or if you can’t open or close your jaw completely, see your doctor, dentist or TMJ specialist. They will be able to recommend treatments for your problem.