TMJ is a disorder affecting the temporomandibular joints, or jaw joints, located in front of each ear, connecting the jaw to the skull. This joint is responsible for all movement of the jawbone including eating and talking so any disorder can be particularly serious. Approximately one in ten people in the UK suffer from a TMJ disorder of some description, although many may have no idea that’s what is causing the pain.
The exact cause of TMJ is not known but many contributing causes include stress, arthritis and hormonal change. However, it is likely that one of the key causes is an interruption of bite in the mouth leading to irritation and sub-conscious teeth grinding. This can cause tension to build up in the joint leading to painful TMJ.
Diagnosing a TMJ can be very confusing but will usually involve a dentist conducting a clench test to see if the joint hurts when clenching the teeth. Further diagnostic tests can be carried out if the cause of the problem is not clear. Unfortunately for sufferers, the most prevalent symptom is pain. This can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers and heat packs. More permanent relief can only really be sought from a dentist fitting a dental appliance to prevent any bite misalignment during sleep.
West London dentists are fully trained and equipped to diagnose and treat the pain of TMJ. If you are suffering from a painful face, jaw or neck and have been unable to get to the root of the problem with conventional diagnoses, make an appointment to see a dentist and ask about TMJ.