temporomandibular (TMJ) joint
is where the jawbone meets the temporal bone of the skull. There is one joint for each side of the jaw. The joint moves in two ways, sliding side to side and up and down in a hinge movement.
TMJ disorder can manifest in different symptoms, which include pain in the jaw joint, earache or
, difficulty chewing, locking of jaw and popping or squeaking of the jaw when moving. It is difficult to determine the cause of discomfort as it can be hereditary, from an arthritic joint, a result of injury, from an uneven bite or from teeth grinding (
). TMJ disorder can be difficult to diagnose and may need consultation with varying specialists relating to the head and jaw. These specialists can include, GP,
oral and maxillofacial surgeon
. Generally the disorder is treated non-surgically and can get better through self-care. These techniques include resting the jaw; using anti-inflammatory medication, stress management to relax muscles in the jaw and jaw exercises.
Treatments can include, orthodontic braces and plates to fix uneven bites, irrigation of the joint to clear out debris or a
cortisone or steroid injection
Joint replacement surgery
is considered a last resort option if no other treatment has resolved the pain. An artificial joint would replace the damaged joint(s).
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