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Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly called ""TMJ,"" are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. The condition appears to be more common in women than men. A variety of symptoms may be linked to TMJ disorders. Pain, particularly in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint, is the most common symptom. Other likely symptoms include:
• radiating pain in the face, jaw, or neck,
• jaw muscle stiffness,
• limited movement or locking of the jaw,
• painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth,
• a change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together.
HOW IS TMJ DIAGNOSED?
During the physical exam, doctor or dentist will probably:
• Listen to and feel jaw when one open and close mouth
• Observe the range of motion in jaw
• Press on areas around jaw to identify sites of pain or discomfort
If doctor or dentist suspects a problem with teeth, one may need dental X-rays. A CT scan can provide detailed images of the bones involved in the joint, and MRIs can reveal problems with the joint's disk.
TMJ arthroscopy is sometimes used in the diagnosis of a TMJ disorder. During TMJ arthroscopy, doctor inserts a small thin tube (cannula) into the joint space, and a small camera (arthroscope) is then inserted to view the area and to help determine a diagnosis.
HOW IS TMJ TREATED?
Treatment of TMJ includes conventional modes like using night splint or guard for support. You would also be asked to eat softer foods and avoid talking and moving the jaws to much. The GP would further suggest hot and cold packs along with NSAIDS to relieve the swelling and inflammation.