Temporomandibular disorder is a condition affecting the movement of the jaw. It’s not usually serious and generally gets better on its own.

Check if you have TMD

Signs of TMD include:

  • pain around your jaw, ear and temple
  • clicking, popping or grinding noises when you move your jaw
  • a headache around your temples
  • difficulty opening your mouth fully
  • your jaw locking when you open your mouth

The pain may be worse when chewing and when you feel stressed.

TMD can also stop you getting a good night’s sleep.

How to ease TMD yourself

There are some simple things you can do to try to reduce your jaw pain.

See your GP if:

  • you’re unable to eat or drink
  • the pain is affecting your life
  • the pain is affecting your sleep
  • the pain and discomfort keep coming back

Treatment from a GP

Your GP may suggest:

  • stronger painkillers
  • relaxation techniques to reduce stress
  • ways to improve your sleep

Your GP might suggest you see:

  • a dentist, if teeth grinding might be an issue
  • a psychologist, if stress and anxiety are making your pain worse

If these treatments don’t help, you may be referred to a specialist in joint problems to discuss other options, such as painkilling injections or surgery.

Causes of TMD

TMD can be caused by:

  • teeth grinding
  • wear and tear of the joint
  • a blow to the head or face
  • stress
  • an uneven bite