This jaw pain may be as a result of:
- Grinding or clenching the teeth due to stress, emotional tension or habit
- Mal-alignment of the internal structures of the joint which may cause the muscles and ligaments which support this joint to not work together properly
- Damage to the meniscus, its attachments or other internal joint problems may also affect the muscles and supporting joint structures and lead to symptoms
- Incorrect alignment of the teeth and\or jaws which may place additional stress on the muscles and may be considered a factor
- TMJ problems may also be caused by displacement of the joint components as a result of jaw, head, and neck injuries
- Osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis are a rare cause of TMJ problems, but can occur and their management is not isolated to this joint but forms part of the overall care of that form of arthritis
Rest assured, treatment of TMJ jaw pain is NOT necessarily surgical. The American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons recommends a conservative/non-surgical approach first. Only 20% of patients need to proceed to surgery.