“TMJ” is a catch-all term used by people to describe a variety of symptoms that occur in the jaw joints and jaw muscles. Technically, TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint which is the jaw joint. The correct term is Temporomandibular Disorder or TMD.
Common symptoms include:
- Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
- Problems when you try to open your mouth wide
- Jaws that get "stuck" or "lock" in the open- or closed-mouth position
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.
- A tired feeling in your face
- Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite -- as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
- Swelling on the side of your face
There are many causes for TMD. Three common causes that we routinely treat in our practice are: