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Temporomandibular Joint Disease

Temporomandibular Joint Disease or TMJ is a group of conditions that involve the temporaomandibuluar joints. These joints are located in front of each ear and connect the lower jaw bone to the skull. The temporomandibular joints allow sideward and up-and-down movements such as speaking, chewing food, biting and speaking. A person suffering from Temporomandibular joint disease has pain in the jaw and surrounding tissues that make movement painful. TMJ is also referred to as myofacial pain dysfunction and Costen's syndrome. Mandibular muscle tension caused due to stress can be a cause for TPD. Certain triggering factors for TMJ may be teeth grinding, teeth clenching, dental problems and high stress.


It is noticed that more women, especially in their childbearing years tend to be affected by TMJ than men. Some form of arthritis, hormones, autoimmune conditions and low-grade infections are thought to be the causes for Temporomandibular Joint Disease. There is a dull ache in the jaw joint and ears. Persons suffering from temporomandibular joint disease suffer headaches and pain in the neck, shoulder and back. They may find it difficult to open the mouth comfortably or notice locking of the jaw. Swelling is sometimes noticed on the sides of the face. There might be ear pain or ringing in the ears. These symptoms may last a few weeks.


A diagnosis of TMJ can be made after an examination of the cheek muscles for any neurological symptoms. The physician will check for any joint clicking sounds and assess the range of motion of the mandibular joints. Analgesics or NSAIDs are prescribed to reduce pain and discomfort. Muscle relaxants such as diazepam are used to reduce muscle spasms. Therapy such as massage, exercise and electrical stimulation can aid in improving the strength and motion of the mandibular joints. Dental therapy such as orthodontics can help in rectifying an abnormal bite and teeth misalignment. Cortisone injections are given to those who do not respond to any other treatment. Patients suffering temporomandibular joint disease can alleviate the pain and other symptoms by eating soft food, applying ice or moist heat and avoiding extreme jaw movements that can be painful. The jaw must be rested.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 13, 2019