TMJ stands for temporo-mandibular joint. That is the joint just below the ear opening that is involved when the lower jaw moves. There are many causes for pain in this joint. Sometimes it is due to degenerative or inflammatory changes stemming from a traumatic injury. Clenching or grinding may produce the same symptoms but usually in conjunction with soreness or tension in the muscles of the jaw and temple area. When this is suspected, an analysis of the bite is done to determine if the clenching or grinding is triggered by a faulty bite or changes introduced from prior dental restorations or treatment. Bite corrections may be minor such as an adjustment to previous fillings, crowns, or reshaping a tooth that has shifted. When major corrections are necessary, it is often helpful to make an orthopedic (TMJ) appliance to determine if the contemplated bite change will provide relief.
An analysis of the way the teeth meet can often determine if the