The temporomandibular joint, more commonly referred to as TMJ, a sliding-hinge-like joint, serves as a connector of the jawbone to the skull. It is responsible for the mobility of your jaw, which is why you can move it from side to side or up and down. Without it, you cannot perform crucial activities like biting, chewing, speaking, and yawning.
When TMJ disorders occur
According to TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Northern Indiana, TMJ disorders occur when certain problems arise and cause pain in the jaw joint as well as in the muscles responsible for joint movement.
Although the causes of TMJ disorders are often hard to pinpoint, there are many factors that can contribute to or promote their development. Fortunately, there are various treatment options that help with pain and overall management.
Some people are at greater risk of developing problems with their TMJ. For instance, poor neck and upper back posture can increase the possibility, and so does stress, which often makes people grind their teeth or clench their jaws. Women between the ages of 18 and 44 also have higher risks.
Signs and symptoms
One of the most common signs associated with this jaw problem is tenderness of or pain in the jaw. You may also suffer from ear pains and difficulty while biting, chewing, talking, or generally moving your jaw. Aching facial pain is another common symptom. Locking of the joint may also occur, which will keep you from fully opening or closing your mouth without pain. Grating sensations or odd clicking sounds during jaw movement can also indicate you are suffering from a TMJ disorder.
When to see a specialist
Once you notice any of the above-mentioned indications, it is important you seek medical assistance right away, particularly with the involvement of persistent tenderness or pain in the jaw. A TMJ specialist is your best option in such cases, as treatment for these disorders vary from case to case and person to person.