TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorders

More than 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorder, a condition that affects the function of the temporomandibular joint, or jaw joint. Despite this fact, TMJ remains one of the most commonly misunderstood areas of dentistry. For an answer to the question “What is TMJ?” and to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this disorder, please read the sections below.

What is the Temporomandibular Joint, or TMJ?

The temporomandibular joints connect the jawbone to the skull. Located at the sides of the head near each ear, these joints play an essential role in eating, speaking, and making facial expressions. In fact, the temporomandibular joint ( TMJ) is one of the most frequently used and complex joints in the entire body.
TMJ disorder can develop when one or both of the temporomandibular joints stop functioning properly. This may happen due to any number of causes and may result in chronic ear pain, jaw stiffness and soreness, difficulty opening the mouth, jaw popping or clicking, and headaches. Sufferers of TMJ disorder may experience either sharp pain or a dull, constant ache. Because the causes and symptoms of TMJ disorder are so varied, the condition is typically classified into three main sub-categories:

  • Myofacial pain
  • Internal derangement of the joint
  • Inflammatory joint disease

These classifications help doctors develop more effective treatment options for sufferers of TMJ disorder, based on each patient’s unique symptoms and needs. For proper diagnosis and treatment of TMJ conditions, a patient may require evaluations from multiple medical specialists. In addition to general dentists, dentists trained in neuromuscular dentistry, primary care physicians, and otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat specialists) are typically sought for TMJ diagnosis and care.

Causes and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Knowledge of TMJ causes and symptoms can make the condition easier to understand. However, only a trained doctor can diagnose the disorder and help sufferers make educated choices about their care.

TMJ Treatment

Depending on the severity of your condition and other factors, there are a number of possible TMJ treatment options.

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorders

What is TMJ Disorder? Information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder can help patients understand this condition.