Your Temporomandibular Joint or TMJ is a hinged joint that connects the temporal bone in your skull to your mandible, or lower jaw. Located in front of your ears on both sides of your head, your TMJ is flexible allowing your jaw to move from side to side and up and down. Your TMJ also allows you to yawn, chew, and talk. The muscles that are attached to your jaw joint are the muscles that control its movement and positioning.
Unfortunately, if you suffer from a temporomandibular disorder, also known as TMD you could be dealing with all sorts of problems. Your dentist can help with TMJ disorders by fitting you with a custom-made mouthguard that you wear while you sleep.
Although the exact cause of TMD is unclear, some dentists agree that the TMD symptoms arise from jaw, problems with the jaw muscles or the TMJ itself. TMJ injuries or injuries to the head or neck could also cause TMJ Disorders. People who have suffered from whiplash or a blow to the head may also suffer from TMD.
Dentists also believe that grinding or clenching your teeth could be to blame as these activities, which usually occur at night, put tremendous pressure on the Temporomandibular Joint. If the disc or soft cushion that is located between the socket and the ball becomes dislocated, it could also cause TMJ Disorders. If rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis is present, it could cause TMD as well. Stress is another indicator, as people tend to hold their jaw muscles tightly while clenching their teeth.
Crest explains that people with TMD or TMJ Disorders can have severe discomfort and pain that could last for years. Women are more susceptible to TMD than men are, and is more common in people who are aged between 20 and 40.
Your dentist has seen common symptoms, which include:
Limited ability to open your mouth
Jaws that lock or be stuck in a closed or open mouth position
Popping, clicking or grating sounds when you open or close your mouth
Pain or tenderness in the jaw joint, face, neck, or shoulders
Pain when chewing or talking
Swelling on one of both sides of the face
Other common symptoms of TMD include neck aches, tinnitus, or a ringing sound in your ears, earaches, dizziness, headaches, and toothaches.
Some other conditions such as arthritis, sinus problems, toothaches, and gum disease could be to blame for TMD as well. Your dentist will be able to get to the root of your problem by conducting a patient history and a checkup of your teeth and gums.