Temporomandibular Disorder

TMJ temporomandibular disorder

What is Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?

It means jaw joint, and it connects the lower jaw to the skull. It allows for the opening and closing of the mouth. This is the most used joint in the entire body and it affects our ability to talk, chew and swallow.

TMD frequently occurs when the lower jaw is not in the proper position relative to the upper jaw. When the lower jaw goes back too far, this results in the protective disc becoming anteriorly displaced. Some common causes of TMD are clenching or grinding habits, your lower jaw too far back causing an anteriorly displaced disc, a deep dental overbite, a bad bite and/or teeth missing, trauma to the head or neck, automobile accidents or a whiplash injury, bad posture or stress on the body or intubation procedures in hospitals.

Symptoms

Patients visit many health care providers in search of answers to their problems as the following symptoms of TMD masquerade as many other conditions:

  • Headaches, back pain, neck pain or stiffness
  • Earaches, congestion or ringing in the ears
  • Tired jaws or pain when chewing
  • Limited jaw opening or locking
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Difficulty closing the teeth together or swallowing
  • Facial pain or pain behind the eyes
  • Numbness in the hands
  • Clicking, popping or grating sounds when opening and closing the mouth

If you have any of these symptoms you could possibly have a problem with your jaw (TMJ). Prolonged spasms of facial muscles can lead to chronic muscle pain and trigger points (knotted muscles), which can send pain to different areas of your body such as your neck, eyes, ears, shoulders or lower back which can make it difficult to diagnose.