What is TMJ and TMD?

woman's jaw in pain

The temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ, is the joint which connects the jawbone to the skull. Problems with the bone, muscles, or surrounding tissues of the jaw are known as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD).

There are a number of symptoms associated with TMDs. Most commonly, pain or tenderness is experienced in the jaw joint or muscles around the jaw. This occurs with the opening or closing of the jaw during activities such as chewing, swallowing, yawning, speaking, or laughing. Jaws may also get stuck or lock in the open or close position during these motions. Sometimes, jaw movements are accompanied with a clicking, popping, or grinding noise. Headaches and ringing in the ear (tinnitus) can also occur with TMDs.

Temporormandibular joint disorders may be caused by different factors such as: jaw injury or arthritis of the joint, overuse of the muscles surrounding the jaw due to tooth grinding or clenching (bruxism), or general wear and tear of the cartilaginous disc in between the joint. Other causes may include stress and poor posture.

As with any concerns regarding your health, you should tell your dentist or doctor if you have been experiencing problems or pain with your TMJ. If you have a TMD, you may be referred to a physiotherapist who specializes in temporomandibular joint disorders who will assess and treat as appropriate.

If you are in the Port Credit area of Mississauga, we encourage you to visit us and our neighbouring dentist at Lakeview Dentistry if have been experiencing persistent problems with your TMJ and suspect you may have a temporomandibular joint disorder.

Learn how our physiotherapists at Peak Form Physiotherapy can help treat your TMD in our next upcoming blog post!

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