WHAT IS TMJ?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It is the joint that connects your jaw (mandible) to your skull (temporal bones), and it is very distinctive compared to the other major joints in the human body. The temporomandibular joint is complex and unique in its structure. First, you have to move both joints at the same time and cannot choose to only move one joint. The temporomandibular joint has two distinct movements unlike any other joint in the body. The initial motion is a hinge movement that is followed by a translational (sliding) movement where the jaw comes out of the area where it usually is so it is like an intentional dislocation.
We use the TMJ more frequently than any other joint in our body. Every time we chew, talk, bite down or swallow we put the TMJ to work. The exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder (TMD) is often difficult to determine, which is why it’s important to receive the correct treatment plan.
WHAT ARE TEMPOROMANDIBULAR DISORDERS?
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) are a complex and poorly understood set of conditions. TMD refers to problems related to pain, inflammation and improper functioning of:
- Jaw joints (Temporomandibular joints)
A condition in either the hard or soft tissues or both, including disc dislocation and arthritis/degeneration. This joint-related condition usually results from inflammation, disease or degeneration of the hard or soft tissues within the TMJ. Inflammation, disc dislocation (also called internal derangement) and degenerative arthritis are the most common arthrogenous disorders of the TMJ.
- Muscles surrounding your jaw joints
A condition affecting the muscles, usually brought on by overwork or tension in the jaw and supporting muscles.
- Associated structures in your head, neck and face (including but not limited to your teeth, nerves and blood vessels)