Temporomandibular Joint Disorder • TMJ Symptoms • Causes
What is TMJ Disorder?
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ syndrome, describes a variety of problems of the temporomandibular joint. The main factor in TMJ disorders is usually pain related to the jaw. TMJ disorders involve the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and movement of the jaw, and they can result in acute or chronic facial pain.
Temporomandibular joint disorder is also known as TMJD, TMJ, TMD and myofacial pain dysfunction. Until recently TMJ disorder was known as Costen’s syndrome. James Costen was the first who described the symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction and linked it to malocclusion (bad bite).
What is the Temporomandibular Joint?
The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull. It is located directly in front of the ear on either side of the head where the upper jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible) meet. TMJ is one of the most complex and frequently used joints in the human body.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is consisted by the temporal bone (side and base of the skull), the mandible (lower jaw) and the mastication muscles that connect them, allowing the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side, and enabling us to talk and chew. The primary muscles involved are the following: temporalis, masseter, medial pterygoid, and lateral pterygoid.
The round upper end of the lower jaw, that is the movable portion of the temporomandibular joint, is called the condyle. The socket where it fits into the temporal bone is called the articular fossa. Between the condyle and the fossa there is a disk made of cartilage that acts as a cushion to absorb stress and allows smooth movement of the joint when the mouth opens and closes.
Most of the problems of the temporomandibular joint are related with the dislocation or damage of this disk between the two jaws, while less cases are related with the muscles providing movement to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
The most common symptom of TMJ disorder is pain. TMJ symptoms include :
Other symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction include:
Unusual TMJ Symptoms
You may also experience some of the unusual symptoms of TMJ :
Causes of TMJ Disorder symptoms
There are many different types of TMJ disorder, any one of which may be related to a number of causes. The most common TMJ problems occur when the temporomandibular joint itself or the surrounding muscles are put under intense or continuous stress. Causes of TMJ can be either mental or physical.
The following are some of the causes of TMJ disorders:
Because many other conditions can cause similar symptoms with TMJ, the dentist or physician must take the patient history and perform a careful clinical examination to determine the cause of the symptoms by:
Proper diagnosis and identification of TMJ causes is very important for deciding the appropriate treatment for the symptoms of TMJ disorders.
The cost involved with dental treatments can be significant and many patients may not afford it if they are not covered by their dental insurance. Learn how to choose a dental insurance plan that will provide the best dental treatment to you and your family.