What is TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) refers to the jaw joint on either side of your head. This joint connects your lower jaw to your skull and acts as a sliding hinge. The TMJ allows your jaw to move. TMJ Disorders, also known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD’s), are conditions that affect the jaw and are characterised by varying degrees of pain in the face and mouth.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
The pain associated with TMJ Disorders can range from mild symptoms to those which are quite debilitating. Pain and tenderness are generally chronic in nature and can affect one or both jaws. The symptoms may involve the muscles that are used for chewing, the actual TMJ in isolation or a combination of the two.
Based on the severity and nature of one’s symptoms, treatment varies from conservative methods to those that include surgery of the TMJ.
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders include:
- Tenderness or pain in the jaw
- Pain in and around your ear
- Pain while chewing or difficulty chewing
- Facial pain
- Locking of the joint
- Joint noises
- Difficulty with opening and closing your mouth
Treatment options for TMJ Disorder
- Heat application
- Jaw exercises
- Bite splint therapy
- Behavioural therapy
- Diet modification
- Joint washout (arthrocentesis)
- Open joint surgery
- Joint replacement