To get us started we’ll share the official term – it’s temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder. Now that you know the real name, you can understand why it is typically called TMJ for short.
Many of you have probably heard a friend or family member say they suffer from TMJ or have pain in their jaw. TMJ is a condition that can cause pain and dysfunction of the jaw joint and also muscles, which control your jaw’s movement. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, some estimates suggest that TMJ disorders affect over ten million Americans!
The actual joint connects the lower jaw (your mandible) to the bone on the side of your head. If you take your fingers and put them just in front of your ears and open/close your mouth you can feel the joint. This joint is responsible for allowing you to talk and chew because of its flexibility.
You’re probably wondering now with so many people affected by TMJ, what causes the disorder? Trauma to the jaw or the joint specifically would cause the pain, but for many individuals the cause is difficult to determine. For some it can be a bad bite or stress causing you to clench your jaw for an extended period of time. The symptoms may ease over time or they can worsen and the duration of time affected depends on the person.
Even though the causes are not always clear, our doctors have advanced training concerning TMJ issues. We will be happy to schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns and will present you with the best treatment options available.
Next we will cover the signs and symptoms of TMJ, so keep an eye out next week!