Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) allows us to open and close the mouth to chew, bite, speak, breathe, yawn, or make other similar movements. This joint connects the bones of the skull and face, with one on each side of the head. It performs three types of movement: up and down, forward, backward and side to side. Dental malocclusion (misalignment of teeth when the jaw closes), orthodontic appliances, stress and bad habits such as clenching the teeth or biting objects can alter the function of the temporomandibular joint. This syndrome can cause pain in the jaw, ears, head, neck, back, plus trouble chewing. TMJ treatment is aimed at addressing the causes that have caused the disorder and improving symptoms, and may include physical therapy, exercise, medication, relaxation techniques, mouth guards and surgery, although this is rare.

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