TMJ (Temporo-Mandibular Joint Pain) is pain associated with the displacement or intrinsic changes of the cartilage disc and fluid capsule that causes pressure and stretching of the associated sensory nerves and muscles at the jaw joint.

TMJ Overview

 TMJ Causes

  • Major and minor trauma to the jaw
  • Teeth grinding
  • Excessive gum chewing
  • Stress and other psychological factors
  • Improper bite or mal-positioned teeth
  • Arthritis

The popping or clicking associated with TMJ occurs when the disk snaps into place when the jaw moves. In addition, the chewing muscles may spasm and causing pain and tenderness.

TMJ Symptoms 

The pain may be sharp and searing, occurring each time you swallow, yawn, talk or chew, or it may be dull and constant. It often causes spasms in the adjacent muscles that are attached to the bones of the skull, face and jaws. Then, pain can be felt inside the ears, at the side of the head (the temple), the cheek, the lower jaw and the teeth.

  • Ear pain
  • Sore jaw muscles
  • Temple/cheek pain
  • Jaw popping/clicking
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth fully
  • Frequent head/neck aches

TMJ Treatment 

Proper diagnosis of TMJ begins with a detailed history and physical, including careful assessment of the teeth occlusion and function of the jaw joints and muscles. Self-remedies such as resting the muscles and joints by eating soft foods, not chewing gum, wearing a mouthguard, avoiding clenching or tensing and relaxing the muscles with heat may offer relief along with relaxation techniques and stress reduction, patient education, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants or other medications. Some patients undergo physical therapy and evaluation with oral-maxillofacial surgeons as well.

North Carolina EENT has offices in Cary, Durham, and Chapel Hill for treatment of TMJ.

Contact us today!  Make an appointment at one of our nearby offices, to discuss treatment options.