What is a TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joint Disorder is also known as TMJ and commonly referred to as Jaw Joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint is like a sliding hinge which connects the jawbone to your skull.

Everybody has a joint on each side of their jaw. TMJ disorders are a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD  which cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.

What are the causes of TMJ Disorder?

Although, doctors find it quite difficult to find out the exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder. You could be experiencing pain due to a number of reasons.

The job of the temporomandibular joint is to combine two very important actions:

  • a hinge action
  • sliding motions.

The parts of the bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk, to ensure a smooth movement. There could be a painful TMJ disorder due to:

  • Genetics
  • The erosion of disk that leads to the malalignment
  • Arthritis damages the joint’s cartilage
  • Jaw injury: Blow or other impact damage the joint.

Although, in many cases, the cause of TMJ disorders is not very clear.

Does Grinding Or Clenching Teeth Cause TMJ Disorder?

It is not necessary that everybody who grinds or clenches teeth will develop TMJ Disorder. Some people have the habit of grinding and clenching but they may never develop TMJ Disorder. On the other hand, some people with jaw pain often tend to clench or grind their teeth.

Is TMJ Disorder Temporary?

Yes, in most cases,  pain and discomfort arising from TMJ disorders are temporary which can be effectively relieved with self-care or nonsurgical treatments. It seldom requires a Surgery, when all measures to curb the pain and discomfort have failed miserably.

What are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?

  • Pain in your jaw
  • Tenderness of your jaw
  • Pain in either or both of the temporomandibular joints
  • Pain in and around your ear
  • Discomfort or pain while chewing food
  • Pain in your face
  • Difficulty in opening or closing your mouth
  • A clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew

Do I need to see a dentist for TMJ Disorder?

If you experience the symptoms Persistently, for example, experiencing pain and tenderness in the jaw, temporomandibular joints, that connect your jaw to the skull, ear or facial pain, difficulty in chewing food and hearing a clicking sound when chewing. In such a case, you need to visit your dentist or a TMJ specialist who can determine the cause and accordingly suggest a treatment. If there’s no pain or limitation of movement associated with your jaw clicking, you probably don’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder.

Risk factors of TMJ Disorder

If TMJ order is not treated on time, it could increase the risk of the following:

  • Jaw injury
  • Chronic grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Connective tissue diseases
  • Problems with the temporomandibular joint