Temperomandibular Joint Disorders

Temperomandibular Joint is a hinge joint that connects the lower jaw or the mandible to the temporal bone (bone at the side of the head). It is a flexible joint allowing jaw movement that enables chewing, yawning and talking. Temperomandibular Jaw Disorders are associated with problems of the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles. It is a common condition and is usually not very serious. Pain and discomfort is occasional and temporary.


    • Jaw muscle stiffness

    • Limited ability to open the mouth wide

    • Pain in the face, jaw, neck, shoulders, in and around the ear while chewing, speaking etc.

    • Clicking or grating sound while chewing or opening the mouth

    • Buzzing or blocked sensation in the ear, earache


Though the exact cause for TMJ is not known some of the possible reasons could be

    • Injury to the jaw joint, jaw, or muscles of the face and neck

    • Teeth grinding or clenching resulting in the application of pressure on the jaw

    • Wear and tear of jaw joint tissue often due to osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

    • Stress which may cause teeth clenching


It is important to visit your dentist or GP in case you suspect TMJ. They may use X-rays, CT scan or MRI scans for diagnosing the problem. At Dr. Mukul Dhabolkar’s Dental Clinic our team of experts diagnoses the exact problem and suggests suitable treatment options. Generally lifestyle changes and self help physiotherapy treatments are tried first such as

    • Taking over the counter pain medications.

    • Applying moist heat or ice packs to the jaw for ten minutes several times a day.

    • Eating soft foods.

    • Avoiding extreme jaw movements like yawning, yelling, singing etc.

    • Practicing good posture to reduce neck and facial pain. Avoid resting chin on your hand.

    • Avoiding clenching or grinding during day hours.

    • Relaxing the muscles around the joint by massaging.

Your dentist may also suggest higher doses of medications to relieve pain and swelling. A splint or mouthguard may be used to reduce clenching or teeth grinding. Splints are worn all day long whereas mouth guards are used only at night. Dental work such as using crowns and bridges may be used to replace missing teeth and adjust the bite position. Other treatment options may also be suggested such as

    • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Therapy uses low level electric currents to reduce pain

    • Ultrasound

    • Trigger point injections

    • Radio Wave therapy

    • Low level Laser therapy

Alternatively your doctor may also suggest surgery if no other options work. The type of surgery depends on the problem you are facing. The types of surgery include

    • Arthrocentesis

    • Arthroscopy

    • Open Joint surgery

If you have been advised a surgery make sure that you understand the procedure and the risks associated with it.