Connecting your jaw to the your skull, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is vitally important for all forms of jaw movement: speaking, chewing, swallowing, etc. The name of the joint is derived from the two bones that connect: temporal and mandible. Although the joint is in constant use, we rarely give it a second thought until there is a problem. Many people though, at some point in their lives, will suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD), or TMJ syndrome. It is a common condition that is normally characterised by chronic pain and heightened sensitivity in the area of the TMJ.
Alongside the pain and sensitivity, may TMJD sufferers will have hyperactivity in the jaw, this will normally manifest as the clenching of the jaw (‘bruxism’), facial twitches and distortions, and grinding your teeth when asleep. While these symptoms do not pose a major risk in the short term it is very important to have the problem checked out by your Leeds dentist as over the medium/long term clenching and grinding can cause serious problems to your teeth. A range of other symptoms may also indicate TMJD, from discomfort chewing, jaw popping, facial aches and headaches.
Depending on the specifics of the case, your doctor will suggests some treatments or refer to you to a specialist doctor. Stretching and massaging the jaw muscles can provide some relief from the symptoms but it will still be necessary to seek medical advice to address the underlying issues.