What is “TMJ”?

The term “TMJ” is an abbreviation for Temporo-Mandibular Joint, or the jaw joint. In fact, there are really two TMJs, one in front of each ear. The TMJ is the joint formed by the temporal bone of the skull (Temporo) with the lower jaw or mandible (hence: mandibular). Your TMJ’s are the most complex joint in your entire body. Placed between these two bones is a disc, just like the one between your back bones.

Disorders of the temporomandibular joints, which connect the lower jaw to the skull, may be one of the reasons millions of people suffer from chronic headache, earache and facial pain.  No other joints are subject to such precise functioning as those involved in the meeting and biting of teeth.

Symptoms of TMJ:

  • Pain or soreness in the jaw that is more prevalent in the morning or late afternoon
  • Clicking or popping when opening or closing the mouth
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Sensitive teeth in the absence of dental problems
  • An earache in the absence of an infection
  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth and/or chewing
  • Upper and lower teeth that do not align properly (malocclusion)
  • Stiffness or “locked” feeling in the jaw when talking, yawning or eating
  • Jaw pain when chewing, biting or yawning
  • Recent changes to the bite
  • Frequently waking up with headaches or experiencing frequent tension headaches

Temporomandibular disorders can arise from a variety of causes. Dr. Girish Deshpande will work with your family doctor to help initially stabilize your jaw joints and muscles, and give you options for long term stabilization. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please contact our office for a consultation.