Orofacial Pain

Temporomandibular Dysfunction

The temporalmandibular (TMJ) joints are located near the ear, at the top of the lower jaw.  These joints allow movement of the jaw.

TMJ disorders (TMD) are caused by injury, arthritis or habits such as grinding the teeth at night.  These disorders may produce some of the following symptoms:

  • Earaches
  • Headaches
  • Clicking or grating noises with jaw movement
  • Pain opening or closing the mouth
  • Limited movement of the jaw
  • Pain in the face, temples, or neck

Not all discomfort of the jaw is the result of a TMJ disorder.  In many cases, stress causes the muscles in the jaw to tense, resulting in symptoms similar to those characteristic of a TMJ disorder.  Special imaging techniques may be needed to properly diagnose jaw problems and correct them accordingly.


The necessary course of treatment is dependent on the specific diagnosis and severity of the damage to the joint.  Treatment for TMJ disorders include:

  • Medications for pain and muscle relaxation
  • A bite appliance
  • Stress management
  • Surgical repair of the joint
  • Arthroscopic surgical repair (minimally invasive surgery)