Also known as TMJD, TMD or TMJ Syndrome is a condition on which a person may experience pain in the jaw joint. This joint connects the temporal bone of the skull located on the sides of your head to the mandible or jaw bone. It is a complex joint which allows rotation and translation from side to side the position of the jaw bone. Some people can exhibit a clicking or popping sound with their jaw. This usually means that they have worn down the cartilage. When there is inflammation in this joint it can put pressure on the jaw bone’s trigeminal nerve.
Because the cartilage doesn’t have nerve endings, the pain is not experienced directly at the mandibular joint, however, pain can be felt in surrounding areas associated with the mandibular joint like the ear. TMJ is often associated with ear pain. If there is pressure on the trigeminal nerve the pain can be constant whether you are moving the jaw bone or not.
People who grind there teeth can be more susceptible to developing TMJ as it can cause an abnormal alignment of the jaw bone which can stress areas of the mandibular joint. Also, trauma to the jaw bone or over-opening can lead to TMJ.
Common treatment for TMJ include dental restoration to improve how the teeth come together. Nighttime mouth guards to help eliminate grinding. Nighttime EMG biofeedback. For extreme cases, reconstructive surgery may be an option.