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TMJ dysfunction

What is TMJ dysfunction?

The letters TMJ are short for 'temporo-mandibular joint', which is the joint connecting your lower jaw to your skull. This joint allows you to open and close your mouth and chew from side to side.

If you are missing some teeth at the back of your mouth, this may lead to an unbalanced bite, which can cause uneven pressure on your teeth. Other causes of TMJ dysfunction can include grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw at night.

If you suffer from severe headaches, or neck and shoulder pain, you may not have linked this to a problem with your jaw. Other symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include pain or discomfort on the side of your face, around your ears and jaw joints or difficulty moving your jaw. If you experience occasional jaw pain you should avoid eating hard foods, chewing gum and biting on hard objects. When you yawn, try supporting your lower jaw with your hand.

Talk to your dentist if you think you may be suffering from TMJ dysfunction.