TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. A cartilagenous disc separates the jaw bone from the temporal area of the skull. Five muscles stabilize the joint. Jaw joint pain may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension.
Problems with the disc or the muscles in the TMJ can cause:
- Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face
Dental treatments for TMJ pain can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.