Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction and Foundational Correction
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your lower jaw (mandible) to your skull.
The TMJ lies on both sides of your head, right in front of your ears. The TMJ works like a sliding hinge. It allows the opening and closure of your jaws, giving you the space and allowance to eat and speak.
Some authorities use “TMJ” to refer to several health conditions that affect your jaw. But a more common abbreviation for this condition is “TMJD” or “TMD” (1). The D stands for disorder or dysfunction.
TMJD can cause:
· Facial pain
· Tenderness at the joint
· Difficulty in moving the joint
A study by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (2) shows that over 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorders. Furthermore, these conditions tend to be more common among women than men.
These disorders can be treated, but there are many different causes, and that’s why diagnosis is usually tricky.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
The symptoms of TMJD depend on the cause of your condition and the severity. However, the most typical sign is pain in the jaw and the surrounding muscles.
A 2021 study (3) shows that the following symptoms are usually associated with these disorders:
· Pain that can be felt in the neck or face
· Stiffness in the jaw muscles
· Locking of the jaw
· Limiting of jaw movement
· Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
· Popping or clicking sound from the affected site
· Jaw shifts, changing the alignment of the upper and lower teeth (malocclusion)
Some symptoms may show up on only one side of the face. However, in some cases, they show up on both sides.