TM Joint Dysfunction can cause multiple symptoms such as:
- Pain in the joint
- Pain in or around the ear leading patients to believe they have an ear infection
- Clicking or popping noise in the joint when eating or opening and closing the mouth
- Limited opening of mouth
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Jaw dislocations on opening preventing the patient from closing
- Frequent headaches
Causes of TM Joint Pain and Dysfunction:
- Trauma – injury to the joint or muscles
- Bite malfunction – teeth do not fit together in a comfortable relaxed muscle position
- Bruxism and clenching of teeth at night or during the day
- Missing teeth
Treatment of TM Joint Dysfunction:
- Do not do any unnecessary chewing – such as gum and candy.
- Eat soft foods.
- Reduce pain with Tylenol, Aspirin, or Ibuprofen 1 hour prior to bedtime and use ice packs on the joint for that 1 hour prior to bed.
- A night guard/bite splint can be made to reduce clenching and grinding while sleeping.
- Muscle relaxant medications may be helpful prior to bedtime.
- Some cases may require physical therapy.
- Some cases may benefit from a bite adjustment or orthodontics.