TMJ Or More Accurately, TMD
Ever been told you have TMJ? Did you know TMJ is really a misnomer? More accurately, it’s considered TMD, which stands for TemporoMandibular joint Dysfunction. The joint is the hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn.
TMD often causes discomfort or severe pain. It can be temporary or last years. TMD doesn’t have a conclusive cause. However, injury to your jaw, the joint, or the muscles of your head and neck (like from a heavy blow or whiplash) can lead to TMD. Other causes include:
* Grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts loads of pressure on the joint
* Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
* Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles and clench the teeth
* Arthritis in the joint
Common symptoms include:
* Pain or tenderness in your face or jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
* Jaws that get stuck and feel as if they are locked in the open or closed position
* Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew.
* Problems when you try to open your mouth wide
* Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite — as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
* A tired feeling in your face
* Facial swelling