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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes temporomandibular joint disorder?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1




    Helen Potter


    As a Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, with extensive experience and highly advanced qualifications, as well as excellent communication skills, I can help you to: Become informed … View Profile

    TMJ problems

    Our small jaw joints actually cope with huge forces when we bite and even more if we grind our teeth at night. The surrounding cheek and tongue muscles can shorten and become overactive adding more compression and uneven shear stresses to the joints.
    Even how we sit or tense our shoulders and neck can change the pressure on the jaw joints.
    Physiotherapy assessment and treatment of TMJ can be very helpful but collaboration with your dentist or orthotist may give a more optimal outcome.

  • 6


    Dr Ryan Hislop


    Ryan Hislop is the Clinical Director at the Mudgee Chiropractic Health and Wellness Centre. As an experienced and evidence-based diagnostician, Ryan works largely by medical … View Profile

    The TMJ is a complex joint that responsible for more than purely mastication, breathing and speech. It also plays a prominent biomechanical role in balancing the head on the neck. This is due to the front of the head being lighter than the back due to the numerous cavities (eyes, mounth, nasal cavity, sinuses etc). For this reason, changes in neck and head position greatly influence the angles the TMJ needs to operate under.

    Along with implications due to malignment of teeth, posture plays a large role in the development of TMJD.

    In a typical case, the majority of pain is muscular, however pain can develop within the joint as well.

  • Lorraine Favaretto


    Experienced physiotherapist with a gentle, effective approach. Treatments include a holistic approach incorporating manual therapy, exercise, cranio-sacral therapy techniques and advice with onward referral to … View Profile

    Temporo-Mandibular Disorder, otherwise known as TMD or sometimes just TMJ (which means temporo-mandibular joint), is a broad term used to descibe a condition where the jaw is not working as well as it should. This can cause pain, clicking, headaches, referred ear and tooth symptoms.

    Just like any other joint in the body, the jaw can suffer problems related to the muscles, ligaments, and the joint itself, (such as arthritis). It also has a small disc which needs to move correctly to allow your mouth to move properly and  provide cushioning in the joint.  

    The cause of the problem varies from person to person as so many factors are involved. Clenching and grinding teeth, uneven work of the muscles, poor teeth alignment, posture and habits such as nail biting can all be contributing factors.

    A well trained and experienced clinician should be able to assess the dysfunction and help to both address the symptoms and look at the possible causes. 

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