Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Remedies

TMJ Treatment Remedies


The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is TMJ?

The TMJ is a bilateral synovial articulation between the mandible and temporal bone.

The name of the joint is derived from the two bones which form the joint: the uppertemporal bone which is part of the cranium (skull), and the lower jawbone or mandible.

As you open or close your mouth (as experienced when yawning), the muscles of the jawbone and the skull ensure that the jawbone moves.

These muscles are known as muscles of mastication.

Within the jaw joint, there is cartilage, some smooth material that partly covers the bones.

A synovial fluid lubricates the joint.

The temporomandibular joint is not similar to the other joints of the body.

This is because of this joint’s unique makeup and complex movements.

TMJ disorder is characterized by pain which is accompanied by limited mandibular movement.

As the jaw moves, noises may be heard.

These joints are normally flexible to allow free and smooth movement of the jaw.

These up and down movements and sideways motion are essential when chewing, talking, or yawning.

The movement of the jaw bone is controlled by the TMJ.

The jaw bone is capable of moving in two unique fashions; hinge action and gliding action.

Hinge action is the type of movement that your jaw bone makes when you either open or close your mouth.

It is also known as rotation.

TMJ syndrome, also known as TMJ disorder, refers to symptoms that arise from problems that affect your jaw (plus the jaw joint).

The nearby facial muscles responsible for controlling the chewing action and the overall movement of the jaw.

The gliding action of the jaw bone is the movement made by the jaw bone to allow your mouth to open up widely (wide agape as it happens when in awe).

It is the coordination of the gliding action that enables one to talk, yawn, click, or chew.

The TMJ is made up of muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels.

There are two TMJs, with one on every side of the jaw.

TMJ disorder therefore sums up muscle disorders .

Ttemporomandibular joint problems that cause dysfunction and pain during jaw movement.

This condition is manifested as pain in the jaw joint or cyclic discomfort.

This pain may disappear after a while but for others, the condition may develop into long-term symptoms.

TMJ can be classified into 3 broad categories: myofascial pain, internal joint derangement, and arthritis.

Myofascial pain is characterized by pain or discomfort in the muscles responsible for controlling the function of your jaw.

A dislocated jaw, displaced disc, or physical injury to injury to the condyle constitute internal joint derangement.

Arthritis on the hand refers to a group of inflammatory or degenerative joint disorders that interfere with the way the TMJ works.

It is important to know that one may experience all of the 3 symptoms at the same time.

Some health problems including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or sleep disturbance may occur alongside TMJ disorders.

TMJ Symptoms

When yawning, individuals with TMJ disorders may find their jaws locked

Sometimes it will stuck either in the open-mouth position or closed-mouth position.

It is also possible to hear popping, grating, or clicking sounds in the area of the jaw joint while opening or closing your mouth.

The noise confirms the presence of some joint dysfunction.

The joint sounds could also be as a result of some internal derangement of your joint.

This occurs when the articular disc is abnormally positioned or unstable.

Some patients diagnosed with these conditions may also complain of tiredness in the face.

Chewing difficulties and jerky uncomfortable bites are also common.

A few persons with TMJ disorders reported swelling on their face.

In some cases, toothaches, earaches, neck aches, headaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, dizziness, and tinnitus (ringing noises in the ear or head) were reported.

The ringing or buzzing noises in the ear (tinnitus) are attributed to the fact that the ear canal is so close to your jaw joint.

Dizziness (vertigo) and aching pain around the ear could also be as a result of this fact.

Sometimes, persons with TMJ disorders experience stiffness in jaw muscles.

You may also find it difficult to fit your lower and upper teeth together.

In some cases, the steady pain associated with lower back pains interrupts the patient’s sleep.

A person diagnosed with lower back pains may also lose his or her height.

Height loss may be as a result of deformity or disability associated with lower back pains.

If symptoms occur after an accident or due to a sports injury, acute pain may be felt by the patient.

Pain that is persistent (lasting more than 3 months) is categorized as chronic pain.

If you pain stays on for more than 72 hours, you should immediately consult your doctor.

Some symptoms for lower back pain require urgent medical care.

After a fall or some injury, one should seek immediate check-up by a health professional.

Other signs of lower back pains include fever, leg weakness, pain during coughing or urination, and loss of bladder control.

TMJ Causes

Dentists strongly believe that the various signs and symptoms associated with TMJ disorders can be linked to problems of the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles) or issues with the joint itself.

If you happen to dislocate the disc or soft cushion that sits between the socket and the ball, you are likely to experience these disorders.

In rare cases, these disorders have been linked to stress which triggers actions such as teeth grinding and clenching.

Stress also increases muscle tension.

It is important to note that Jaw noises that are neither accompanied by pain nor restricted jaw movement do not amount to a TMJ disorder and treatment is not necessary

A number of risk factors for TMJ disorders have been identified.

Certain musculoskeletal conditions and inflammatory disorders increase the risk of developing a TMJ disorder or syndrome.

Some cases of TMJ disorders were diagnosed in persons with irregularly positioned teeth and those who had suffered trauma on their jaws.

The trauma on your jaw could be as a result of an impact such as a blow.

If your joint’s cartilage has been damaged by say arthritis, your also stand a higher risk of suffering from a TMJ disorder than those not exposed to arthritis before.

Similarly, if the disc within the TMJ slips out of its position (proper alignment), you will also experience this disorder.

Research has also shown that those with a genetic predisposition to stress and pain are more susceptible to TMJ disorder.

If you are between the age of 20 and 40 years, you stand a higher risk of suffering from TMJ disorders compared to those outside this age bracket.

Hormonal factors have also been identified as the cause of TMJ disorders in women.

Oestrogen, the female sex hormone, is the reason why these disorders are commonly reported in females than men.

TMJ disorders have also been linked to other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic joint laxity, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic neck pain, interstitial cystitis, and regular scuba diving.

TMJ Diagnosis

Diagnosis of TMJ disorders is based on the symptoms reported by the patient.

The dentist may perform a physical examination by listening to and feeling the jaw as his patient opens or closes the mouth.

The doctor may also observe the motion of your jaw and ascertain any movement difficulties if any.

At some point, the doctor may have to press against your jaws to identify specific sites of discomfort or pain.

If the dentist identifies the underlying cause of your pain to be an issue with your teeth, he may order for an X-ray.

An MRI or CT scan can also be used to provide graphical images of your joint.

Blood tests will be necessary when looking out for signs of inflammation.

Your doctor may order for blood tests to be performed to rule out other possible reasons for the pain reported by the patient.

If other tests fail to reveal the underlying cause of pain, a fibre-optic device may be used.

This procedure is known as arthroscopy.

It is also common for your doctor to do a diagnostic nerve block to establish if the pain originates from the muscles or joint.

In this procedure, the doctor injects a local anaesthetic next to the nerve that runs to the jaw joint.

If the patient does not feel any pain after this procedure, it means that the pain originally came from the patient’s joint and not muscle.

Your doctor may also use his stethoscope to listen over the noises heard by the patient.

TMJ Treatment

Your doctor may also refer you to a physical therapist.

Gently massaging your neck muscles and the jaw altogether is a good step towards relieving pain associated with TMJ disorders.

For cases where teeth grinding and clenching at night have been identified as the underlying causes of TMJ syndrome, a sedative may be recommended by your doctor.

A good sedative would be clonazepam (Klonopin).

Counselling may also be suggested to help you earn and understand the various behaviours that exacerbate your pain.

During this counselling, you may learn how to fight the urge to bite your fingers, to grind your teeth or to lean on your chin.

If a structural problem is identified as the cause of the disorder, surgery will be carried out to replace or repair the joint.

Sometimes, corticosteroid injections in the affected joints have proved to be effective.

Botulinum toxin may also be injected in the muscles of mastication to relieve pain caused by TMJ disorders.

Arthrocentesis may be suggested by your doctor to remove inflammatory by-products or debris.

TMJ Prevention

To keep off the TMJ syndrome, a number of ways have been suggested by medical experts, including fighting the urge to bite your finger nails or eating soft foods.

Biting cuticles, pencils, and pen caps should also be avoided.

Excessive or regular gum chewing behaviour should be avoided.

If you are that person who grinds his teeth while sleeping, it is advised that you seek immediate medical attention.

Doctors also emphasise on the importance of avoiding foods that require great effort to chew.

It is also suggested that you learn about ergonomics and the right posture for your neck.

You should also ensure that you stretch periodically and switch body positions more regularly to relieve stress on your body.

Always sleep on your side and embrace a pillow between your shoulder and the neck.

While yawning, it is recommended that you always support your chin using your fist to prevent any possible dislocation.

TMJ Statistics & Facts

Younger persons are at a higher risk of suffering from TMJ disorders tan older persons.

TMJ disorders are more prevalent in women than men.

Women are twice more likely to develop these conditions than men.

Studies have shown that about 15 percent of adults in the United States report chronic facial pain.

The various forms of pain reported include earaches, headaches, or jaw pain.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the skull.

TMJ disorders are usually confused with migraines.

TMJ is also known as craniomandibular dysfunction, myofascial pain dysfunction, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or temporomandibular dysfunction.

Physical trauma to the jaw or TMJ can cause a TMJ disorder.

TMJ Treatment Remedies plus

The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is TMJ?

TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint, connects your jawbone to the skull.

It is the hinge joint that links your mandible (lower jaw) to the skull (the temporal bone).

A joint is that junction where two or more bones meet.

The main function of a joint is to promote movement between bones and to allow flexibility.

Your jaw joint, for instance, promotes movement between the mandible and the skull.

TMJ Symptoms

Persons diagnosed with TMJ disorders experience discomfort and severe pain that may be short-lived or persistent.

Thus pain is aggravated by biting, clicking, or popping sounds.

Most of those diagnosed with this condition complain of pain in the jaw joint area, pain in the neck or shoulders.

This pain may be stabbing when you chew, speak, or widely open your mouth.

It is also common for persons with TMJ disorders to complain of tenderness or radiating pain in their faces.

TMJ Causes

The pain in the jaw joint area could be as a result of some physical injury to the temporomandibular joint, the jaw, or any of the muscles of the neck or head.

Other causes suggested for TMJ disorders are teeth clenching or grinding.

Clenching or grinding exert pressure on your TMJ and strain its function.

Excessive teeth clenching and grinding may occur when one is awake or asleep.

This parafunctional activity is known as bruxism.

TMJ Treatment

Treatment for TMJ disorders combines a number of home remedies, relaxation techniques, and stress reduction techniques to treat TMJ symptoms.

Cold packs or ice may be placed to the jaw joint area with the aim of relieving pain or dampening its severity.

Doctors may also prescribe you over-the-counter drugs including anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

Doctors warn against chewing of gum and partaking in soft foods if you have been diagnosed with a TMJ disorder.

Doctors also prescribe muscle relaxants to relieve pain associated with these conditions of the jaw.

pub 48 Diagnosing and Treating

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