TMD Symptoms & TMJ Surgery
Temporomandibular joint disorder (sometimes referred to as TMJ or TMD) is a chronic degenerative disease that affects up to 75 million people in the United States. The disease often develops over an extended period of time, usually many years, due to a misaligned bite or other causes. Over time, the uneven bite leads to a structural imbalance between the jaw and the skull.
What Is TMJ?
TMJ is the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint, which is the connection point between the lower jaw (mandible) and the skull at the temporal bone, located just in front of the ear. The TMJ is a flexible hinge joint, allowing the jaw to move both up and down as well as side to side. Thanks to the range of movement allowed by the joint, we can chew, talk and yawn. The causes of TMJ discomfort are often attributable to the many muscles and tendons that connect the lower jaw and the skull. If discomfort and pain grow, the TMJ may be developing TMD.
What Is TMD?
TMD refers to temporomandibular joint disorders. TMD results from problems with TMJ and the connecting muscles and tendons, which control chewing and other movements of the jaw. TMD can result from an injury to the jaw or neck or by any of the following.
The symptoms of TMD can vary in severity from a tired feeling in the face to a stuck or locked jaw. Because the TMJ is located by and connected to the ear, sometimes the symptoms can range far beyond the face, jaw or neck and affect the entire body.
Placing pressure on the TMJ by grinding or clenching.
The disc between the ball and socket of the joint being dislocated.
Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the temporomandibular joint.
Tightening facial muscles or holding tension in the jaw muscles due to stress.
TMD symptoms may include:
- Swelling at the hinge between skull and jaw
- Limited opening or movement of the mouth
- Uncomfortable bite or difficulty chewing
- Facial pain
- Painful clicks or pops
- Shoulder pain
- Neck aches
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)