Temporomandibular joint disorder is a term referring to the associated problems with the temporomandibular joints, surrounding muscles and bone. It is reported that 40-60% of the populations has some form of temporomandibular joint disorder. Symptoms vary widely from occasional clicking and popping to chronic pain and limited mobility and use of the joints. Common causes of temporomandibular joint disorder are chronic tooth clenching and grinding, ill-fitting teeth, trauma, arthritis, systemic disease, growth/developmental disturbances and stress. Common therapies include anti-inflammation medications, soft diet, muscle relaxant medication, splint therapy, physical therapy, hot and cold packs and occlusal equilibration (bite adjustment). Most cases are well managed with a combination of the above therapies.

Temporomandibular joint disorders are complex, confusing and relatively difficult to treat. Opinions among practitioners vary widely and second or third opinions may be sought before treatment. Left untreated, conditions will continue to worsen.


- Written by the Salem Times Register for Dr. Caroline Wallace.