Temporomandibular Joint Problems

The Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull, which is immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control the position and movement of the jaw.

The cause of TMJ disorders is not clear, but we believe it arises from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.

Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint or muscles of the head and neck - such as from a heavy blow or whiplash - can cause TMJ disorders. Other possible causes include: Grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ, Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket, Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ and Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth.


Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak or open your mouth wide.

Limited ability to open the mouth very wide.

Jaws that get "stuck" or "lock" in the open or closed position.

Clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth (which may or may not be accompanied by pain).

A tired feeling in the face.

Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite, as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly.

Other common symptoms of TMJ disorders include toothaches, headaches, neckaches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).


Some basic, conservative treatments for TMJ disorders include:

Apply moist heat or cold packs.

Eat soft foods.

Try non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen. Antidepressants, when used in low doses, can also help to reduce or control pain.

Wear a splint or night guard.

Avoid wide opening and keep yawning to a minimum.

Physiotherapy can be useful and consider stress reduction therapy, including biofeedback.

Surgery should only be considered in specific circumstances. As surgery is irreversible, it is wise to discuss this thoroughly with your specialist.

Learning relaxation techniques to help control muscle tension in the jaw.

Services Overview

We aim to provide a quality of service of the highest standard with the motto of " Treat as you wish to be treated"


Address: Fylde Coast Hospital, St Walburgas  Road.  Blackpool.  FY3 8BP
Telephone: 07888 675042
Fax: 08712 428250
E-mail: akhtar.pa@omfs.surgery