What is the temporomandibular joint?

It is a sliding and pivoting joint near the ear that allows the movements of the lower jaw. Problems may arise when the jaw pivots upon opening, closing, or lateral movement. Thus the joint and the masticatory muscles can be affected or even cause a dysfunction of the jaw called temporomandibular joint dysfunction.


  • Ear pain despite the absence of infection
  • Intense jaw pain in the morning or at the end of the day
  • Pain while chewing, biting or yawning
  • Clicking sound on opening and closing of the mouth
  • Difficulty in opening and closing the mouth
  • Blocking or stiffening of the jaw while speaking
  • Sensitivity of teeth without any observed dental problems

The causes


Avoid anything that could force or stress the joints like :

  • Excessive opening of the mouth
  • Chewing gum, biting your nails, foods that are very hard or require a lot of chewing
  • Sleeping in a position that exerts strong pressure on your mandible
  • Grinding your teeth


Conservative: soft diet, application of heat to the face, physiotherapy, occlusal splints, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), muscle relaxants

Arthrocentesis of the TMJ (under sedation or general anesthesia), surgery, repositioning disc or meniscectomy


Your Maxillofacial Surgery Specialist

Dr. Nadia Rizkallah

DMD, FRCD(c), Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Dr. Nadia Rizkallah obtained a doctorat in dentistry at the University of Montreal in 2008.  She then went on to complete her studies in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Montefiore Medical Center of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine located in New York City. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada in her specialty.

She teaches dental students as an oral surgery clinician at the University of Montreal as well as general practice residents in the Notre-Dame Hospital – CHUM (catered mostly for medically compromised patients as well as trauma patients). She now works in private practice and is affiliated with the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital in St-Jérôme as well as Notre-Dame hospital – CHUM.

In her spare time, Dr. Rizkallah enjoys biking outdoors, spinning, hiking and trekking, improvising new cooking recipes without forgetting the most important part of savouring them.

Dr. Nadia Rizkallah is a member of the following dental associations: