The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is similar to a sliding hinge that connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders can cause pain in the jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.
To treat TMJ disorders, the cause must first be identified. In less severe cases, TMJ disorders can be treated with self-managed care (eating soft foods, using ice packs, avoiding extreme jaw movement) or nonsurgical treatments (anti-inflammatory medications, stabilization splints). More severe cases of TMJ may require surgical treatment such as jaw joint replacement.
TMJ conditions fall into three main categories:
- Myofascial pain, which involves discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function.
- Internal derangement of the joint that can mean a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle.
- Arthritis, which is degenerative inflammatory disorder.