Temporomanibular (jaw) joint problems

What is the Temporomandibular joint?

The Temporomandibular joint ('TMJ'), is the joint between your upper and lower jaws, slightly in front of your ears. Problems sometimes occur when the gristly cartilage that seperates the bone surfaces becomes worn or moves out of place.

How will I know if I am suffering from 'TMJ' problems?

  • When you move your jaw, you may notice a clicking or grating noise
  • Difficulty opening or closing your mouth
  • Swelling or tenderness over the joint
  • Pain in the face, neck and chewing muscles
  • Headaches or back pain
  • Pain in your ear, possibly with ringing noises

Is there treatment for this problem?

  • Your dentist may recommend that you take painkillers or tablets to relax the muscles. You could also try using an ice pack at home or stress-relieving techniques
  • Your dentist may advise replacing your missing teeth with a denture or bridge, or a different denture, to change the way your jaw sits
  • Alternatively, they may suggest that you wear a 'biteguard' at night, which will take pressure off the joint
  • The success of such treatments will depend on how much the joint has been damaged and on how much future damage can be prevented