The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull in front of the ears. Temporomandibular disorders are often called TMJ, but the proper abbreviation is TMD. Teeth grinding, arthritis in the joint, and stress can contribute to TMD. Symptoms include tenderness, swelling, a stuck jaw, trouble chewing, and possibly even headaches and tinnitus. Eating soft foods and keeping teeth apart can relieve symptoms. There are also over-the-counter and prescription medications available. More serious treatments include radio wave therapy, ultrasound, and even surgery (arthrocentesis, arthroscopy or open-joint surgery).
- The causes of TMD aren’t fully known, but teeth-grinding, arthritis and stress are associated with it.
- Symptoms include tenderness, clicking sounds in the jaw, and difficulty chewing.
- Treatments range from avoiding crunchy foods, to over-the-counter medication or even surgery in some instances.
“They’ll also make sure your jaw works like it should and doesn’t lock when you open or close your mouth. Plus they’ll test your bite and check for problems with your facial muscles.”