Jaw joints, muscles and associated structures are actively involved opening and closing the mouth for chewing, speaking and other functions. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a complex joint that connects the base of your skull to your lower jaw and is just in front of the ear.
The joint is made up of two parts, the condyle and the glenoid fossa with the fibrousarticular disc between them. This disc serves as a shock absorber spreading the jaw forces that occur with jaw function. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) is a group of conditions that results in pain or dysfunction that affects the TMJs, jaw muscles and/or associated structures.
Signs and symptoms that can accompany TMJ pain include:
Temporomandibular disorders can develop if:
The risk factors related to TMD include:
Treatment will be based on the diagnosis of specific type of TMD diagnosis and aims to decrease pain and improve function. This may include simple instructions such as a soft diet, avoiding painful jaw function, habit awareness, thermal therapy and jaw exercises.
Other treatments may include:
It is recommended that you consult a doctor or dentist for treatment if you experience persistent jaw pain or discomfort or if you are unable to fully open or close your jaw.
To consult an Oral Medicine Specialist regarding your TMD, ask your doctor or dentist to refer you to TeleOralMedicine.