The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, or the joint that connects the lower jaw to the rest of the head. The term “TMJ” is often used to refer to TMJ disorder, also called TMD, which occurs when the jaw joint becomes stressed, injured or misaligned. TMJ disorder may result due to several different factors, such as stress, bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), arthritis in the TMJ, or trauma and injury to the head, neck or jaw.
You may suffer from TMD if you experience frequent jaw pain or facial pain. TMJ disorders may also cause:
- Grinding, clicking or popping sounds in the jaw when you open and close your mouth
- Inability to open your mouth wide to speak, yawn or chew
- A locked or stuck jaw
- Pain when chewing and biting
- Pain in the neck, shoulders or ears
- Frequent headaches
Our orthodontist can help you determine the cause of your TMJ disorder and recommend the appropriate treatment. Treatment for the TMJ will depend on the cause and severity of your TMJ disorder. TMD treatment may include jaw and facial relaxation exercises, lifestyle changes, restorative dental treatments, a mouth guard or night guard, or jaw surgery.