The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint between the lower jaw and the skull. Disorders of the TMJ are one of the most common causes of pain in the face and mouth after tooth pain. There are many causes of TMJ disfunction such as loss of teeth or following trauma. These causes can increase stress on the joint, muscles and other soft tissues around the face and head causing pain.
What are the symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD)?
- Pain and tenderness over the jaw and face
- Headaches and ear pain
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Jaw joint clicking, grating noisess
- Clenching of the jaw
- Grinding of teeth (Bruxism)
- Reduced mouth opening
- Locking of the jaw
What treatment is available?
It is important to first get a diagnosis from a medical professional and to then discuss different treatment options.
Often TMJ is simply treated by lifestyle changes and self-help physiotherapy treatment at home. In severe cases you may be referred to the hospital for further treatment.
Lifestyle changes which may help include temporarily eating softer foods, using hot or cold compresses and massage. Jaw stretching exercises are available online and these are encouraged to help alleviate symptoms.
Your dentist is able to make a custom made mouth guard to be worn at night, if your symptoms are brought on by clenching and grinding.