What is TMJ?
“TMJ” is an acronym for temporomandibular joint, that is to say, the jaw joint. The temporomandibular joints are the joints in front of the ears attaching the lower jaw to the skull. They are essential to daily jaw functions such as opening and closing your mouth, chewing and speaking.
What are TMJ Disorders?
TMJ disorders refer to conditions, manifested by pain in the area of the jaw and jaw muscles and limitations in the ability of the jaw to operate normally while speaking, eating, and swallowing. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institutes of Health states that 10.8 million people in the USA suffer from TMJ problems.
What causes TMJ Disorder?
Medical research has not yet defined all the causes of the various TMJ disorders. Some patients report having TMJ symptoms following trauma, dental treatment, traffic accidents, trauma, or following the adoption of habits such as clenching or grinding the teeth. Arthritis in other parts of the body is sometimes linked to TMJ pain.
How to treat TMJ
At present, there are more than 50 treatments in use ranging from very conservative, reversible therapies to more aggressive, invasive approaches.
What are symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
TMJ patients report the following symptoms:
- Frequent headaches
- Uncomfortable bite
- Neck / Shoulder / Back pain
- Facial swelling
- Pain of the face
- Pain of the jaw joint and / or the ear
- Jaw locking when jaw open or closed
- Restricted ability or complete inability to open the mouth without pain