An Overview Of TMJ Disorders

Written By Back to Health Chiropractic and Massage on April 7, 2014


An Overview Of TMJ Disorders


What does TMJ stand for?
TMJ stands for “Temporomandibular Joint”. The Area located anteriorly to your ear and medial to the opening of the ear canal. When you move your mouth to do things such as open and close it to chew, you can place your finger on the location stated above and feel a notch moving. That is where the joint is, connecting the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull.
What is the cause of TMD?
There are no definitive reasons that a Temporomandibular Disorder will occur, however, science shows that the muscles of the jaw and the other connecting parts of the joint itself are weakened. This could be caused from accidents such as injuries to the jaw, the temporomandibular joint itself, or the muscles of the head and neck such as a heavy blow to the head and neck or whiplash. If you have experienced anything like this, seek help from a professional as soon as you can.
Other possible causes that are less noticeable or thought of as hazardous to the jaw itself are:
Grinding or clenching of teeth as well as stress causing pressure to build up on the joint
Dislocation of the ball and socket joint through force
Arthritis or osteoarthritis due to the fact that your joints become inflamed and will then shy away from the proper location
Signs and symptoms
Pain or tenderness in the face, joint area, neck and shoulders
Pain in the ear or around it when chewing, speaking, or opening up your mouth too wide
Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
Unusual sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth which may be accompanied with pain
Unusual sounds when chewing, such as a popping noise
The feeling as though the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly, like your jaw is out of line. Most common if you have had a blow to the face like in high impact sports.
Swelling, especially near the joint on the side of the face near the ear
Other symptoms may include toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain and tinnitus which is the ringing you hear in your ears.
Prevention
Other than taking precautionary measures while playing high impact sports, there is not much you can do to prevent the disorder from happening. If you know that you grind your teeth, you may want to talk to your dentist about ways to control or limit the amount of grinding and pressure, something as small easy as wearing a mouth guard at night could be a quick fix.