What is TMJ and Where Does It Come From?

What is TMJ and Where Does It Come From?

The temporomandibular joint, TMJ for short, is a joint that connects your lower jaw to the rest of your head. The TMJ is the joint that makes it possible for you to open and close your mouth. When you have problems with this joint or the surrounding muscles in the jaw, it is called TMJ disorder, or TMD.

The portions of the bones that interact at the TMJ are covered with cartilage and are separated by a disk that absorbs shocks and vibrations and helps the bones to glide smoothly. Sometimes the cartilage or disk moves out of alignment or becomes damaged, leading to TMD. Other times, a cause for the TMD cannot be found.

TMD can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are also associated with other conditions. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have TMD.

• Clicking or popping when opening or closing your mouth• Your jaw getting stuck in either an open or closed position• Difficulty opening your mouth wide• Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw, neck or shoulders• Difficulty chewing• Headaches or earaches

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and think you may have TMD, contact our TMJ dentist right away. Delays in making a diagnosis can lead to more serious problems down the road. In addition to taking a medical and dental history, including a report of your symptoms, our dentist will conduct a thorough dental exam and take x-rays to aid in making an accurate diagnosis.