TMJ & Jaw DisordersTemporomandibular disorders (TMD) occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. These disorders are often incorrectly called TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull, which is immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. The joints are flexible, allowing the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side and enabling you to talk, chew and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control the position and movement of the jaw.
What causes TMJ problems?
- Grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ
- Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket
- Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
- Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
Many of our patients who suffer from chronic headaches, neck aches, clicking or popping jaws, or facial pain near the cheeks or ears may have TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder. These symptoms are usually related to the bite or how the jaws fit together. TMJ is treated by dentists trained in orthopedics and orthodontics, in addition to advanced general dental techniques.