Before outlining the tmj symptoms, let’s first define what it is and how the jaw works, then the symptoms will make more sense.
Temporomandicular Joint Dysfunction is the “abnormal functioning of the temporomandibular joint.” (American Dental Association definition)
The next natural question is, what is the temporormandibular joint (TMJ) and how does it work?
The TMJ is where the mandible (your lower jaw) with the lower portion of the temporal bone of your skull connect. To protect the bones from rubbing against each other, there is a disk or meniscus, sitting between where the two bones meet.
The jaw joint is held in place by ligaments and muscles – the main ones being the masseter, temporalis and lateral pterygoid muscles. Inside this is a joint capsule containing a liquid to keep the joint (and disk) lubricated.
The TMJ is a complex joint in that it is both a hinge joint and a gliding joint. This allows the jaw to open and close, slide side-to-side, as well as move forward and back. Notice that the only bone moving during any of these actions is the mandible.
TMJ symptoms include:
- pain near your ear
- clicking, popping or locking of the jaw joint
- difficulty opening the mouth and/or chewing
Some people experience tension headaches, others migraines, and some none at all.
The jaw joint is right in front of your ear. It may feel like your ear is full yet when your doctor or ear doctor looks, they can’t see signs of an infection.
This can occur if the disk has been displaced, dislocated or worn down.
If your muscles are tight or there is damage to the joint structure or disk, it can make it difficult to open your mouth or chew normally as you don’t have the same range of motion.
Cause of TMJ Disorder
The causes of TMJ are not agreed upon by all in the dental profession or industry. Possible causes or contributing factors of TMJ disorder include:
- arthritis of the jaw joint (TMJ)
- injury to the jaw joint
- teeth grinding and clenching
Arthritis is a wearing and tearing down of cartilage over time.
A blow to the jaw can damage the muscles, ligaments, disc or bones of the joint. In a nutshell, it can knock the joint out of it’s natural alignment.
Constant grinding and jaw clenching can lead to joint damage and muscle fatigue.
The Truth About TMJ ebook package teaches bruxism and TMJ sufferers what they need to know to determine the source of their problem and relief their pain and symptoms all in the comfort of their home.