Temporomandibular Joint, TMJ
The person has two temporomandibular joints which work together as a pair, one in front of each ear. The joints connect the lower jaw bone (the mandible) to the temporal bones of the skull on each side of the head. The muscles controlling the joints are attached to the mandible and allow the jaw to move in three directions: up and down, side to side, and forward and back.
When you open your mouth, the rounded upper ends of the mandible on each side of the jaw (the condyles) glide along the joint socket at the base of the skull. They slide back to their original position when you close your mouth. To keep this motion working smoothly, a soft tissue disc lies between the condyle and the socket. The disc absorbs the shock to the joint from chewing and other movements.
The combination of synchronized as well as three-dimensional movements of the paired joints distinguishes them as the most complicated joints in the body.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, TMD
TMD often causes severe pain and discomfort in the jaw joint and surrounding tissues. It might affect one or both sides of your face and it can be temporary or last many years.
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) can affect a person’s ability to speak, chew, swallow, make facial expressions, and, in the most difficult cases, even breathe.
According to the world-wide statistics as well as practices, TMD is the most common among people between the ages of 20 and 40. TMD is diagnosed more often to women than men (from 6 to 9 times more often acc. to the different sources).
Causes that may affect TMD
In one cases one cause can be found as well as in other cases the full complex of causes that influence temporomandibular joint dysfunction or pathology. These are the cases when complex treatment decisions should be made. In some cases, no obvious cause can be found.
There can be stated multiple causes that may affect TMD:
- grinding or clenching yourteeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint;
- irregular or altered occlusion (it requires the individual estimation);
- movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint;
- injuries to the jaw area;