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Clinical Overview

Clinical Overview
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

Clinical Overview

Reviewed by: Dr. Kristen Dority

Jaw pain is classified under a general title of temporomandibular disorder (TMJD). This condition can include symptoms ranging from aches in the jaw, ears, and head; dizziness; pain on chewing; a limited ability to open or close the mouth; clicking or popping sounds when the jaw is used. Patients spend a $1 billion a year on medical care and drugs for TMJD, and 80 million Americans are affected by this chronic pain disorder. Three times as many women seek treatment as men. TMJD results from a complex number of factors including heredity, function and stress. The latter, stress, is well-recognized, particularly as expressed in tooth clenching and grinding. Orthodontics, crowns, inlays, physical therapy and any appliance that is attached to or rests on the teeth often help remedy tooth clenching and other joint disorders commonly present in TMJD. Team approaches to treating TMJD have had promising results in patients needing psychological help. While dentists treat tooth clenching problems, psychologists assist patients in overcoming habitual feelings of resentment as well as altering patterns of over conscientiousness and perfectionism.

Last updated: May-03-07

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