The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) slides and rotates, enabling the lower jaw to move toward the skull. TMJs are located on each side of the face, in front of the ears.
If you’re having difficulty opening, closing or moving your jaw from side to side, you may have temporomandibular joint dysfunction. This condition affects the joint and/or your jaw muscles.
Symptoms of jaw disorders:
- Headaches or earaches without infection
- Jaw pain that is more intense in the morning than in the evening
- Jaw pain when biting, yawning or chewing
- Cracking noises when opening or closing your mouth
- Difficulty opening or closing your mouth
- Jammed or stiff jaw when talking, yawning or eating
- Tinnitus or dizziness
TMJs are small and fragile and they can get damaged following a facial or jaw injury, whether the accident was serious or not. For this reason, we recommend that youths and adults wear a mouth guard when playing sports.
Misaligned teeth or ill-fitting prostheses can lead to teeth grinding. Many experts believe that some mental or physical tasks, like strenuous movements or stressful situations, may worsen TMJ dysfunctions.
TMJ dysfunctions can also be caused by illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or a jaw malformation.
Finally, your habits and hobbies could also be risk factors, like chewing gum excessively, biting your nails, scuba diving, playing an instrument (violin, tuba, etc.).
We often recommend an MRI for an accurate diagnosis.
Possible treatments for TMJ dysfunctions:
- Special TMJ biteplate
- Correction of occlusion problem (to prevent premature contact and interference between teeth)
- Osteopathic manipulation or physiotherapy
- Application of moist heat
- As a last recourse: muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory medication
Contact us for the right diagnosis and personalized advice.