The TMJ is the joint on either side of the face that connects the jaw to the skull. Each joint consists of the point of the mandible (jaw), the surface of the skull and an articular disc. The joint is complicated due to the high number of muscle attachments in the area and allows movements needed for speaking, chewing and making facial expressions. There are 3 main causes of TMJ pain:
- Myofascial pain syndrome – pain due to increased muscled tension and spasming. Stress is thought to be a contributing factor as well as jaw clenching.
- Internal derangement – usually a problem with the disc inside the joint, commonly secondary to trauma.
- Degenerative joint disease – arthritic changes.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Jaw/face/ear pain.
- Pain with jaw movements.
- Clicking, locking or catching with movements.
- Previous history of trauma.
- Previous history of arthritis.
- Teeth grinding at night.
- Facial Neuralgia/Bell’s Palsy