JAW PROBLEMS AND TMJ DYSFUNCTION
The TMJ or the temporomandibular joint is the joint attaching the jaw to the head that can be felt moving in front of your ears when you open your mouth. Pain, tightness or clicking in this area or the side of your face may indicate TMJ dysfunction. Sometimes TMJ dysfunction may cause headaches or problems eating, drinking, talking and in some of our patients singing. Jaw and TMJ problems may be caused by teeth grinding, arthritis, trauma, malocclusion (uneven bite when closing your teeth) or wider postural problems.
How Osteopathy can help jaw problems and TMJ dysfunction
Jaw and TMJ treatment depends on the cause but normally includes soft tissue and stretching work to balance jaw muscle function. The muscles involved include those in your face, neck, the temple region of your head and sometimes in your throat or those inside your mouth. We may also articulate your jaw and neck joints. In cases of trauma and arthritis we may create a pumping action at the jaw. If your are grinding your teeth we may look at ways to deal with stress or help you acquire a mouth guard to separate your teeth at night as well as giving you specific exercises.
In some cases we may refer you to a dentist or orthodontist for further help if malocclusion is a potential cause.