TMJ Pain (Temporo-Mandibular Joint)

Causes of TMJ

TMJ (Temporo-Mandibular Joint Pain) is pain associated with the displacement of the cartilage disc that causes pressure and stretching of the associated sensory nerves.

  • Major and minor trauma to the jaw
  • Teeth grinding
  • Excessive gum chewing
  • Stress and other psychological factors
  • Improper bite or mal-positioned jaws
  • Arthritis

The popping or clicking associated with TMJ occurs when the disk snaps into place when the jaw moves. In addition, the chewing muscles may spasm and causing you or your child pain and tenderness.

Symptoms of TMJ

The pain may be sharp and searing, occurring each time you swallow, yawn, talk or chew, or it may be dull and constant

  • Ear pain
  • Sore jaw muscles
  • Temple/cheek pain
  • Jaw popping/clicking
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth fully
  • Frequent head/neck aches

Pain may hurt over the joint, immediately in front of the ear, but pain can also radiate elsewhere.

It often causes spasms in the adjacent muscles that are attached to the bones of the skull, face and jaws. Then, pain can be felt at the side of the head (the temple), the cheek, the lower jaw and the teeth.

Treatment of TMJ

Proper diagnosis of TMJ begins with a detailed history and physical, including careful assessment of the teeth occlusion and function of the jaw joints and muscles.

An early diagnosis will likely response to simple, self remedies such as resting the muscles and joints by eating soft foods, not chewing gum, avoiding clenching or tensing and relaxing the muscles with moist heat.

Relaxation techniques and stress reduction, patient education, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants or other medications may also offer relief.