What Is TMJ?
The letters TMJ are used to stand for temporomandibular joint. Your temporomandibular joints are located on both sides of your face, in front of your ears. If you put your little fingers in your ears and open and close your mouth you will feel these joints. These joints connect your skull bone (Temporal bone) and lower jaw (Mandible bone) to allow movements like chewing and speaking, hence the TMJ name.
What Is TMD?
TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder or disease. This refers to any dysfunction of the joint. Many people use the terms TMJ and TMD interchangeably. TMJ dysfunction occurs when the muscles and ligaments around your jaw joints or the joint itself becomes inflamed or irritated. The condition can be acute or chronic (longterm), and the resulting pain may vary from mild to moderate to severe.
Symptoms & Causes
What causes temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder?
TMJ disorder can be caused by any injury to the jaw joints or surrounding tissues. Other factors often involved are:
- Issues with the bite.
- Bruxism (clenching/grinding of teeth).
- Dislocation of the disc in the joint.
- Arthritic changes in the joint.
- Stress – Related to Bruxism
- Acute trauma or injury
- Any or all of the Above
What are common TMJ symptoms?
TMJ issues are most common in those 20 to 40 years of age and also more common in women than in men. Some of the most common TMJ symptoms include:
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing your mouth
- Jaw pain
- Difficulty opening your mouth wide
- Pain in the neck or shoulders.
- Jaws that “lock” in the open – or closed – mouth position.
- A tired feeling in your face.
- Difficulty chewing.
- Tinnitus, or ringing in your ears.
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together.
- Swelling on the side of your face.
- Tooth pain.