TMJ dysfunction or disorder is also known as temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. While the medical world has advanced considerably over the decades, there is still very little known about TMJ.
This is something that dentists will usually see in patients, as it affects the jaw. They can start to see some of the earlier signs, which has led to them doing more of the research into the condition, side effects, and treatments for it.
Here’s a look at everything that is known about TMJ disorder and what you can do if you or a child is diagnosed.
What Is TMJ Dysfunction?
Before considering the causes and treatments, let’s look at what TMJ or TMD is.
Patients with this disorder share that they have pain in the joint. It’s a condition within the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects the lower part of the jaw to the skull. There are two joints at the ears. Most of your mouth muscles will require this joint to move around, including speaking and chewing.
The pain isn’t necessarily going to appear in the joint. Some patients experience pain in their ears, their face, or their neck. Headaches are also common, as the nerves throughout the head are severely affected.
While the pain symptom is common, some dentists will see the physical symptoms. A person may not be able to open their jaw fully, making it difficult to eat or speak. There are some issues with biting, making chewing harder. Jaws can be placed in locked position, or there may be a popping or clicking sound while chewing.
The disorder affects more women than it does men. This confounds the dentists, as it doesn’t always make sense why female’s muscles and joints are more at risk.
Chewing is the most common everyday task affected. This is because of the pressure that chewing causes on the jaw. It creates shock within the joint, which the cartilage disc within the joint needs to absorb. When the joint is damaged, or the cartilage wears away, the bones and muscles will feel the shock instead. This means pain.