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temporo-mandibular joint disorders



The Temporo-Mandibular Joint is located in front of the ear where the skull and the lower jaw meet. The joint allows the lower jaw (mandible) to move and function.  The joint is made up of two bones that are separated by a disc of cartilage.  Ligaments and muscles surround the joint.


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Pain is caused by the muscles in and around the joint tightening up, going into spasm and producing pain and limited mouth opening.  

Joint noise occurs if the disc of cartilage moves out of its normal position.


What causes Temporo-Mandibular Joint pain:

  • Myofacial pain dysfunction syndrome
  • Internal derangement such as disc displacement
  • Degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Grinding or clenching the teeth, uneven bite, injury to the jaw and stress

What are the symptoms associated with Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorder:

  • Biting or chewing difficulty and discomfort
  • Clicking, popping or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Dull, aching pain in the face
  • Hearing loss
  • Jaw pain
  • Reduced ability to open or close the mouth


What treatments are available:


Treatments vary depending on whether you are suffering from myofacial pain dysfunction, internal derangement of the temporo-mandibular joint or a combination of both.

Depending on the diagnosis treatment may include:

  • Short term medications for pain and muscle relaxation
  • Bite place therapy
  • Reconstructive dentistry
  • Orthodontics
  • Arthrocentesis (joint irrigation)
  • Surgical repositioning of jaws to correct congenital jaw malformations such as prognathism and retognathia
  • Arthroplasty
  • Replacement of the jaw joints