the joint between your upper and lower jaws, just in front of your ears is called the ‘temporomandibular joint’ – tmj. cartilage discs sit between this joint and the skull. if the discs slip or become worn, the tmj can cause problems. this is known as tmj dysfunction or tmj syndrome.
all or any of the following;
clicking when moving the jaw
difficulty opening or closing the mouth
swelling or tenderness in front of the ears
pain in the neck, face or chewing muscles
headaches or migraines especially in the morning
these vary from person to person. bruxism i.e. clenching or grinding the teeth when asleep or during the day. habits, for example biting your nails, chewing gum or pens. other factors include fatigue, stress and anxiety. underlying arthritis may also be a cause.
to ease the symptoms it is advisable to cut food into small pieces, avoid chewy and hard foods, try not to open the mouth too wide e.g. in yawning.
professional treatments will try to focus on the cause of the problem, biteguards to restrict grinding, relaxation techniques, giving up aggravating habits, bite adjustment.