TMJ stands for “temporomandibular joint”. This is the joint where the mandible (lower jaw) and temple bone of the head come together to form a movable joint. The joint itself is responsible for opening and closing your mouth, chewing, talking etc.
A common misconception is that TMJ means a problem with your “jaw joint”. What most people are referring to is TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can cause a variety of problems as listed below.
- Pain that is constant or sporadic
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Limited opening of your jaw
- Pain with opening and closing of your lower jaw
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening and closing your mouth
The cause of TMJ disorder can be attributed with many factors.
- Previous injury
- Bruxism – habitually grinding your teeth during the day or more commonly at night
- Habits such as nail biting, clenching your teeth, gum chewing.
- Dental / skeletal discrepancies
- Muscle spasms.
Because there are so many possible causes, it is important to have a good diagnosis before any treatment is done.
Treatment of TMJ Disorder can include the use of anti imflammatories, physio therapy and splints depending on the cause.