Temporomandibular Joint Pain Disorder (TMJ Disorder)
Temporomandibular Joint Pain (TMJD) disorder causes pain in your jaw joint and the muscles that control the jaw movement. The Temporomandibular joint connects the jawbone to your skull allowing your upper jaw to close on the lower jaw and making it one of the most frequently used joints in the body.
TMJ disorder can cause headaches, facial, neck, and ear pain. The syndrome can also create jaw clicking or popping sounds, locking the jaw in a position that is difficult to open or causing problems with biting and chewing.
Often is quite difficult to determine the exact cause of TMJ disorder. Most of the time the pain is a result of trauma that includes fractures and dislocation of the jawbone. Clenching of the teeth, rheumatoid arthritis, bruxism (teeth grinding), osteoarthritis, cancer, and infection are some of the most common causes of TMJ syndrome.
Other medical conditions that are not related to TMJ may cause similar pain in the jaw area. The most characteristic of these is the pain associated with coronary artery disease (angina) or a heart attack, which radiates from the chest but can also spread to the jaw area.
- Pain or tenderness directly over the temporomandibular joint (the jaw area in front of the ear)
- Aching pain around your ear
- Jaw facial pain that often radiates to the neck and shoulder area
- Pain while chewing
- Locked joint and difficulty opening the mouth
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and ear pain (in severe cases might progress into hearing loss)
- Popping sensation