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TMJ and Facial Pain

     TMJ is an abbreviation for the anatomic structure that we call the temporomandibular joint (jaw joint). This joint is similar in many ways to the other joints in our body, and is therefore susceptable to many of the same problems that affect other joints. When we talk about a disorder of this joint or its surrounding structures we prefer to use the term TMD which stands for Temporomandibular Disorders.

      The conditions that most often cause or aggravate a temporomandibular disorder can be broken down into several categories.

  1. Macro-trauma (direct trauma to the joint or surrounding structures) One of the most common injuries of this type is the flexion-extension or "whiplash" injury.
  2. Occlusion (dental bite)
  3. Micro-trauma (harmful or abnormal habits) This is most often caused by tooth grinding or clenching
  4. Diseases of the joint
  5. Psychological factors

      There are also a number of less common factors which may include referred pain, medication side effects, and systemic disorders such as fibromyalgia.


  1. Clicking or grinding noises when opening or closing the mouth
  2. Tightness or restrictions when opening the mouth
  3. Pain when opening or chewing
  4. A jaw that "gets stuck" or "locks"
  5. Headaches
  6. Earaches, fullness or clogged ears
  7. Spasms or tightening of the jaw or neck muscles

     TMD patients may experience one or many of the above symptoms. If you think that you may have a temporomandibular disorder and would like to ask a question CLICK HERE.

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