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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, usually many years — due to a misaligned bite, grinding or clenching the teeth, or an injury to the jaw. Over time, an uneven bite leads to a structural imbalance between the jaw and the skull. Contact our dentists in Gainesville, FL, to schedule TMD or TMJ disorder treatment.
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 that allows 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. TMJ discomfort is often caused by the muscles and tendons that connect the lower jaw and the skull. If discomfort and pain worsen over time, it may indicate TMD.
Excessive pressure on the TMJ by grinding or clenching. This may be during the day or subconsciously at nighttime.
Dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket of the joint often due to trauma.
Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the temporomandibular joint.
Tightening facial muscles or holding tension in the jaw muscles due to stress.
Re-positioning the lower jaw to open the airway can cause chronic TMD symptoms such as facial pain.
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.