Management of Joint Pain
The jaw joint is also known as the “temporomandibular joint (a TMJ)”. This joint allows the jaw to open, close, move side to side and back and forth. It plays an important role in jaw functions such as talking, chewing and yawning. It is one of the most complex and frequently used joints in the body.
A TMJ disorder may affect one or both joints, often causing pain and limiting jaw function. Symptoms usually arise in early adulthood, but children and the elderly can also be affected. Most symptoms of TMJ disorders are mild and do not need treatment.
Symptoms of a TMJ disorder may include limited jaw movement, clicking noises from the jaw joints, pain when chewing, yawning or opening the jaw widely, headaches and/or migraines, earaches, clenching, grinding, face, neck, back and shoulder pain, muscle spasms and toothache. An accurate diagnosis is important to ensure that the right treatment is undertaken.
Treatment is usually conservative and dependent on each patient. In certain cases, adjustments may be made to existing fillings/teeth and a bite splint may need to be made to prevent clenching and grinding at night.