Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD or TMJ or TMD) or TMJ syndrome, is an umbrella term covering acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint, which connects the mandible to the skull. The disorder and resultant dysfunction can result in significant pain and impairment. Because the disorder transcends the boundaries between several health-care disciplines-in particular, dentistry and neurology-there are a variety of treatment approaches.
Often incorrectly called TMJ, temporomandibular joint disorder is basically the swelling of the temporomandibular joint.
Where is the TMJ?
Put your fingers just in front of your ears and clench your teeth, then open your mouth wide. The movement you feel is the TMJ.
How does the TMJ work?
Every time you bite down you put force on both the object between your teeth and the joint. Using physics, it can be explained like this: the jaw is the lever and the TMJ is the fulcrum. Because the forces of chewing need to be distributed over a wide surface, to avoid injury, more force is applied to the TMJ than to the object being chewed. This is possible thanks to the cartilage between the bones, which provides a smooth surface for the joint to freely slide with little friction.
What are some signs or symptoms of TMJD?
- Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
- Clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening and closing the mouth
- Dull, aching pain in the face
- Earache, especially in the morning
- Headache, especially in the morning
- Hearing loss
- Migraine, especially in the morning
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Reduced ability to open and close the mouth
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Tinnitus (hearing things that are not there)
I know earache seems a little strange for a jaw disorder, but because of the location of the TMJ, the pain can often be mistaken for an earache.
What are some causes of TMJD?
There are many factors that place strain on the TMJ. Here are a few of them:
- Bruxism (repetitive unconscious clenching or grinding of the teeth, often at night)
- Misalignment of the top and bottom teeth due to restorative procedures
- Jaw thrusting
- Excessive gum chewing or nail biting
- Size of food bites
- Lack of overbite
Make an appointment with your dentist, at Dental Depot of course. Be sure to explain to the dentist all of the symptoms you are experiencing so they can make an accurate diagnosis.
How can I relieve the pain until I can see a dentist?
The best thing to do is take the recommended dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) at the recommended increments until you can get a dental appointment. Remember, at Dental Depot emergencies are always seen the same day. Also, not only is every Dental Depot open during normal business hours, but also Saturdays 8:00am-4:00pm.
If after reading this you think you may have TMJD, please make an appointment either at www.dentaldepot.net , over the phone, or in the case of an emergency just come in to an office. We would love to help.
We know you have a choice when choosing a dentist or orthodontist in Oklahoma City, Midwest City, Moore, Yukon, Tulsa, Dallas, Edmond, Highland Village, and Phoenix and we thank you for making Dental Depot your partner in good oral health!