jaw joint is also known as TMJ or Tempero-Mandibular-Joint.
When problems occur in the joint, it is called Tempero-Mandibular-Joint
dysfunction. This can happen due to a variety of different
reasons. Trauma to the jaw can cause problems. Habitually
clenching and grinding the teeth increases wear and tear
on the jaw joint. Chewing gum can also aggravate the
problem. TMJ dysfunction can cause ear pain, sore jaw
muscles, temple/cheek pain, locking of the jaw, headaches,
and difficulty opening the mouth. The ear pain can be
very severe and can feel very much like an ear infection.
Treatment of TMJ problems involves resting the jaw (soft foods, avoiding chewing
gum/clenching/grinding), moist heat application to relax the muscles. Consultation
with a dentist or oral surgeon is often needed to ensure proper alignment of
the teeth and to rule out dental/periodontal disease.These
specialists will often prescribe a bite splint to be worn
at night. In extreme cases, surgery on
the jaw joint may be required.