Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn.
Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). But you may hear it wrongly called TMJ, after the joint.
TMD comprises a broad spectrum of signs and symptoms and is the most common cause of chronic non-dental facial pain. TMD usually involves the muscles of mastication uni- or bilaterally. Although TMD presents in patterns, diagnosis is often difficult. Evaluation and treatment is time-intensive and requires multiple therapy or drug regimen to show some beneficial.
Some common symptoms include:
- Do you experience pain or tenderness in the following locations: face, jaw joint, neck or around the ear when opening/closing your mouth?
- Irritation when opening your mouth.
- If your jaw “locks” or gets ‘stuck’ in the closed or open position.
- Do you experience popping sounds or experience grating or clicking in the jaw joint while opening or closing your mouth or chewing is associated with pain.
- Do you experience chewing pains or is it uncomfortable when you bite, as though the lower and upper teeth don’t fit together properly.
Treatment options of TMD can be complex, requiring both non-surgical and surgical care involving multiple specialties working together.