Your jaw is connected to your skull by a soft joint called the temporomandibular joint. This complex joint can become inflamed, causing pain, difficulty chewing and swallowing, and other symptoms. Dentists call this condition temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ.
The main symptoms of TMJ are chronic pain around the area where the jaw joins the skull, difficulty chewing or a “popping” sensation in the jaw while chewing, chronic headaches, and difficulty swallowing.
TMJ is caused by anything that causes the temporomandibular joint to become inflamed. Common causes include grinding or clenching teeth, stress, chewing gum, and arthritis.
We diagnose TMJ by examining and X-raying your jaw and skull to detect inflammation around the joint. We may also ask you questions about your general health to identify any risk factors.
Once TMJ is diagnosed, there are a number of effective treatments including anti-inflammatory medication, stretching techniques to relieve the muscles around the jaw, massage therapy, physiotherapy or stress reduction treatment.
In more severe cases we may prescribe a bite appliance or refer you to a specialist.