Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

TMJ Symptoms and Causes

The temporomandibular joints are complex structures containing muscles, tendons, and bones. Injury to or disorders of these structures can all result in pain in the jaw area.

Quick GuideDental Health: Top Problems in Your Mouth

Dental Health: Top Problems in Your Mouth

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome facts

  • The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. When this joint is injured or damaged, it can lead to a localized pain disorder called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.
  • Causes of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome include injury to the teeth or jaw, misalignment of the teeth or jaw, teeth grinding, poor posture, stress, arthritis, and gum chewing.
  • Signs and symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome include
    • pain in the jaw joint,
    • jaw clicking and popping,
    • ear pain,
    • popping sounds in ears,
    • headaches,
    • stiff or sore jaw muscles,
    • pain in the temple area, or
    • locking of the jaw joint.
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome often responds to home remedies, including ice packs to the joint, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), avoiding chewing gum, massage or gentle stretches of the jaw and neck, and stress reduction.
  • When home treatment does not work, medical treatment for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome includes dental splints, Botox injections, physical therapy, prescription medications, and in severe cases, surgery.
  • The prognosis for TMJ syndrome is generally good as the disorder can usually be managed with self-care and home remedies. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 3/29/2016
References
REFERENCES:

American College of Prosthodontists. "Temporomandibular Joint Disorder & Facial/Jaw Pain." <http://www.gotoapro.org/temporomandibular-joint/>.

Scrivani, J., and Noshir R. Mehta. "Temporomandibular Disorders in Adults." UpToDate.com. Aug. 2015. <http://www.uptodate.com/contents/temporomandibular-disorders-in-adults?source=search_result&search=tmj&selectedTitle=1~77>.

"Study Evaluates Risk Factors for Chronic Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disoders." National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. 10 Nov. 2011.

"TMJ." Amerian Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. Dec. 2010.

The TMJ Association. "Arthroscopy." June 18, 2014. <http://tmj.org/site/page?pageId=263>.

"TMJ Disorders." National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Aug. 2013.

TMJ Hope. "TMJD Pain Management." <http://www.tmjhope.org/tmj-treatment/pain-management/>.

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