Temporomandibular joint and facial pain


The temporomandibular joints (TMJs) act like a hinge, allowing the lower jaws to move when we eat, speak, yawn and swallow. They are located just in front the ears in both sides of the head and constitute one of the most complex joints in the body.

Dysfunction in the TMJ is a condition that can affect the functioning of these joints. One of the symptoms of dysfunction in the jaw joint is facial pain. Difficulty chewing, locked jaw, clicking and headaches are also symptoms of this dysfunction.

Facial pain related to the jaw joint can be localized (in a specific area) or generalized, affecting a broader area; it can manifest suddenly as an acute condition, or it can linger for days and become chronic. The joint itself can also feel painful, and the jaw muscles typically feel tender when palpated.

In many cases of facial pain and TMJ disorder, there is a bad bite component leading to misalignment and tension in the chewing muscles. There are some medical conditions that can cause alterations in the joint, such as arthritis, however, the majority of people who suffer from this conditions has no medical problems.



The jaw area is very complex, with many interrelated structures, including muscles, nerves, bones, joints and arteries, all of them directly related to the skull. Most pain in the face and head areas arises from muscle problems.

A bad bite is often underestimated in its potential to cause damage out of the mouth. When jaws and teeth are misaligned, every single time teeth bite together, the muscles are strained and have to work harder to maintain the jaws working.

Since jaw muscles are related to the joint, the tension also affects the TMJ. Nerves and arteries can get pinched or compressed, resulting on local pain or referred pain in the face.

Another problem is that muscle strain spreads to the skull bones, leading to tension and distorsion in the sutures that keep them together, which can compress vital structures and cause pain. Because the nerves work as a network and they are connected in the brain, injury in one area can manifest as pain in another area, such as joint problems causing facial pain. In addittion, the membranes that cover the brain and the whole spine are also subjected to tension originating from the chewing muscles.



Pain in the face can be a burden for everyday life and the solution can be in the correction of the bite. Most people with facial pain without medical problems only get pain medication as sole treatment. This can become a problem, as the underlying cause is not addressed and chronic use of medications is linked to several side effects and complications.

Thus, correction of the bite can bring balance back to the jaw muscle system and the joint, addressing the cause for the facial pain. According to Dr. Noor, who is the founder of Medical Orthodontics, many patients stop taking painkillers after orthodontic treatment.

As a bonus, while the bite is corrected, the smile also is also improved, boosting your confidence and self-esteem.



Despite the fact that orthodontic treatment is usually regarded as a cosmetic procedure to improve appearance, medical orthodontics goes beyond this concept to solve medical problems, such as facial pain and problems in the jaw joint through the alignment of jaws, teeth and bite.

Clear aligners were introduced almost 20 years ago, and have become very popular in the last decade. They are a great solution for those who want to fix their bite issues and their smile, without the hassle of having braces.

The main advantages of clear aligner therapy are:

Esthetics: the plasctic trays are completely transparent
Hygiene: they are removable, facilitating brushing and flossing
Eating: no mess when eating, devices are removed before the meal
Digital workflow, making treatment comfortable and predictable

The process is simple and once the digital impression is taken, the treatment is planned and the aligners are 3D printed to fit perfectly over the teeth. Several sets of aligners are needed over the course of the treatment until all the corrections have taken place.

There is no excuse to avoid orthodontic treatment as an adult. If your bite is off, the consequences can be too serious. Your health starts with a balanced bite.