Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the name commonly used for what are actually Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). TMJ is the name for the joint itself; it is the joint which acts as a hinge to connect the mandible, which is the lower jaw, to the temporal bone. The temporal bone is located in front of the ear on the sides of the head. There are muscles around and along the joint that aid in jaw movement and control which allows common daily routines to occur such as talking or chewing. Sometimes within this joint, inflammation can occur as well as injuries which can cause a lot of pain.
Common Symptoms of TMJ
- Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
- Limited ability to open the mouth very wide
- Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth (which may or may not be accompanied by pain) or chewing
- A tired feeling in the face
- Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite — as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
- Swelling on the side of the face
- May occur on one or both sides of the face
Common causes of this can be due to grinding or clenching the teeth; sometimes this can be caused by stress which can cause a tightening of jaw and facial muscles. Other causes can be a dislocation in the joint itself which may cause inflammation. TMJ issues can lead to many serious issues including earaches, ringing, and/or hearing problems, headaches, neck aches, and toothaches.
If you experience any of these symptoms over an extended period of time, it is always best to refer to your doctor to follow up with what you are experiencing. Sometimes your doctor may further direct you to other specialists such as a dentist or a specialist like an ENT doctor, etc.The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.