Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the temporal bones of your skull that are located in front of each ear. This allows movement of your jaw to yawn, eat, talk and move up and down.

Pains in the muscles of the jaw are often known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Sometimes it is incorrectly referred to as TMJ.

Causes of temporomandibular joint pain

The exact cause of jaw pain is not known. Some dentists believe that jaw pain is related to problems with the muscles of the jaw or joint.

Jaw pain and TMD can be caused by:

  • Injury or trauma to the jaw joint and/or muscles of your neck and head, such as whiplash
  • Putting pressure on the jaw joint from grinding or clenching the teeth
  • Arthritis in the joint
  • Stress or anxiety which can result in clenching the teeth

Symptoms temporomandibular joint pain

Jaw pain can cause discomfort and sometimes be very painful. While some jaw pain can be cause temporary pain, if it is left untreated, it can be painful for years.

Women often experience jaw pain more than men and it is more common in people aged 20 – 40 years.

Jaw pain can affect one or both sides of the face, with symptoms including:

  • Difficulties open the mouth wide
  • Lock jaw while the mouth is open or close
  • Upper shoulder pain
  • Headaches or toothaches
  • Sounds when eating, opening or closing the mouth, such as popping, clicking or grating
  • A swollen face
  • Aches in the neck or ear
  • Problems hearing
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulties chewing.

Treatments temporomandibular joint pain

The treatment of temporomandibular disorders and associated jaw pain will depend what our Balmain and Dee Why chiropractors and physiotherapists diagnose as the cause of the jaw pain. We will conduct an assessment of jaw impairments that are contributing to the jaw pain. Our treatments are will then focus on reducing pain, improving function and restoring the mechanical properties to the jaw. Sometimes our chiropractors and physiotherapists will refer you to another health professional such as a dentist or psychologist when appropriate, as these health practitioners can be the key to a successful treatments strategy.

Read further about head and jaw conditions: