What exactly is a TMJ?
You have probably heard the term thrown around and you may have heard it used to describe a number of different scenarios. But are you able to define exactly what your TMJ is? Or are you baffled about TMJ?
In terms of your jaw joint and the symptoms, causes and treatments of TMJ – it can come across as mystifying because there is a lot of misinformation out there. No wonder people are confused. A co-worker tells you one thing while a friend explains something entirely different.
When you research on the internet, countless terminologies pop-up, leaving you more bewildered than when you began. Are you puzzled by TMJ? You don’t have to be.
TMJ, TMD, TMJD: acronym agony!
TMJ is an abbreviation for the term temporomandibular joint. Simply stated, this is your jaw joint; the area where your lower jaw attaches to the skull at the temporal bone. You have two TMJ’s, one on each side of your face, although they work in unison.
When you experience discomfort or pain in this area, it is commonly referred to as TMJ when in actuality, TMJ is just the name of the joint. TMD is the correct term for the pain. It stands Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. To complicate things further, some people refer to the disorder with the unabridged acronym, TMJD.
The good news is that, whether you hear TMJ, TMD or TMJD, they all refer to the same thing; a painful problem with your jaw.
Is your TMJ healthy? Take a minute to check
Quite the mouthful to say, your temporomandibular joint is actually quite easy to find. To locate your jaw joint, trace your finger from right below your cheekbone to just in front of the middle of your ear. Can you feel that movement when you open and close your jaw? That’s your TMJ working.
How does your jaw feel? Place your little fingers, pads forward, in your ear canals and gently pull forward. Open and close your teeth. If you feel any clicking, popping or grinding? That’s a stressed TMJ.
When your TMJ is stressed you may experience a variety of symptoms, such as:
Having TMJ problems?
TMJ is complicated. Your jaw joint is a very busy and powerful part of your anatomy. An intricate network of bones, muscles and nerves, it must be balanced and working in harmony with the surrounding structures to perform properly.
What throws a TMJ out of whack? It could be as simple as everyday stress and teeth grinding, or it could be the result of your genetics or how you jaw developed as you grew up. Missing teeth and injuries can also create TMJ. Whatever the cause, the solution is often dental.
If you experience any of the symptoms noted above, Westminster dentist Dr. Gary Imm can help you with neuromuscular dentistry. Don’t suffer needlessly with TMJ pain. Let Dr. Imm help you find a treatment to relieve it.