Jaw Joint Problems

Jaw Joint Problems

The jaw joint otherwise known as temporo-mandibular joint is located in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet. The joint allows the lower jaw to move and function. The joint itself is made up of two bones that are separated by a disc of cartilage. Ligaments and muscle surround the joint.

Problems with the jaw joint are quite common but typically last a few months before getting better. In some cases only the muscles are affected (myofascial pain dysfunction) whereas in others the cartilage and ligaments may also be at fault (internal derangement). Some people may have a combination of both

The most common symptoms are:
Jaw Joint Problems
  • Joint Noise – clicking, cracking, crunching, grating or popping
  • Pain – usually a dull ache in front of or in the ear. This may spread up or down the side of the face
  • Headache (at the side of the head)
  • Limited mouth opening (very rarely with locking of the joint)

Most jaw joint problems are made worse by chewing and are aggravated at times of stress.

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Jaw pain.
  • Jaw injury
  • Broken jaw
  • TMJ disorder
  • Jaw disorders
  • Jaw arthritis
  • Jaw alignment disorder
  • Bruxism
  • Sinus infections
  • Toothache
  • Swollen jaw glands
  • Caffey's disease
  • Dental surgery
  • Wisdom tooth extraction
Jaw Joint Problems1
The symptoms associated with Jaw Joint disorders will vary from person to person, depending on the unique causes of their discomfort.
Medications & Treatments
Some of the possible treatments for Jaw pain from various sources may include:
  • Analgesics
  • Over the counter medications
  • Acetaminophen
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Gentle jaw stretching and relaxation exercises
  • Stabilisation splint
  • Mandibular repositioning devices
  • Arthrocentesis

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