Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are surprisingly common and refer to the collection of malfunctions related to the jaw joint. The TMJ is a major component necessary for the mouth to function, and it does affect the alignment of the teeth and jaw in all humans. For many, a TMJ disorder is a chronic condition that deteriorates over time. Unfortunately, there is no fixing the problem right away. Instead, treatment must be done over time, but results in a healthier, more comfortable jaw.
Where is My TM Joint?
The TM joint is complex to describe, but is located just in front of each ear. It’s responsible for connecting your lower jaw to your skull and is a sliding joint rather than the average ball and socket joint. It’s responsible for the even distribution of the 200+ lbs. of force you produce when you bite. This helps prevent damage to the surrounding mouth and oral structures.
More on TMJ Disorders
There are symptoms that make TMJ disorders obvious to trained professionals. The most common ones experienced include subtle or intense pain when moving the jaw, a clicking sound in the joint, and sleep problems caused by discomfort and trouble breathing. TMJ disorders can and will lead to serious conditions, making it essential that they are detected early and treated properly.
Trouble with Your Jaw?
Do you clench or grind your teeth? The stress caused by tightening your jaw muscles can traumatize the TM joint and cause or aggravate a TMJ disorder. Injury or disease can also affect the joint. It’s easy to damage the joint in direct and indirect ways, especially for individuals who have arthritis. It’s also possible to stress or tear muscle ligaments, which will cause the local disk to slip out of position.
TMJ disorder can include:
- Misaligned bite
- Clicking or grating noise when you open your mouth
- Trouble opening your mouth wide
TMJ Disorder Checklist:
- Do you grind or clench your teeth?
- Do you wake with sore, stiff muscles around the jaw?
- Do you suffer from headaches or neck aches frequently?
- Do you hear a click or pop when you open your mouth?
- Does your mouth stick or lock into place?
- Have you ever suffered from a neck, head, or jaw injury?
- Is your bite misaligned?
- Do you have a hard time using your front teeth to bite or tear into food?
- Are your teeth sensitive, loose, chipped, cracked, broken or worn?
If you answered yes to even one of the these questions, it’s likely you have a TMJ disorder, especially if you have multiple symptoms. Contact Bellflower Oral Facial Surgery & Dental Implant Center to schedule your appointment today.