TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. This joint acts as a sliding hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. While everybody has a temporomandibular joint, when somebody says that they have TMJ, they are generally referring to a disorder of that joint. This disorder is commonly called “lockjaw.”
A disorder in the TMJ is often associated with pain or discomfort. It may be difficult for your doctor or dentist to identify the exact cause of your pain. There are several potential culprits.
Teeth grinding or clenching
Fortunately, most cases of TMJ can be treated without invasive procedures or operations. TMJ is often temporary.
TMJ is associated with several symptoms. Patients may experience just a few of these symptoms, and no case is typical.
Jaw pain or tenderness
Pain in one or both temporomandibular joints
Aching facial pain
Locking of the joint that makes it difficult to open or close your mouth
Aching pain near the ear
Popping or grating when chewing or moving your jaw
While TMJ is generally temporary and there are many possible solutions, you should consider seeing your dentist if your pain is persistent or you are unable to open or close your jaw completely. Your dentist will be educated on the causes, and possible treatments of TMJ and will help to guide you on the right path.