What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) allows you to talk, chew, and yawn. Between 5 and 15 percent of people in the United States experience pain associated with TMJ disorders, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the National Institutes of Health. Women are more likely than men to develop TMJ disorders.

Signs and symptoms of TMJ may include:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness
  • Aching pain in and around the ear
  • Discomfort or difficulty with chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
  • Clicking or grating sensation accompanied by pain when you open your mouth or chew

In most cases, pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders can be alleviated with self-managed care or non-surgical treatments, but more severe cases may need to be treated with dental or surgical intervention.

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