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What is TMJ Disorder?

About TMD Disorder?

TMJ disorder (short for temporomandibular joint disorder) causes pain and discomforted in the jaw and mouth.

TMD is another name for temporomandibular joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to your skull’s temporal bones. This joint is what allows you to move and shift your jaw side to side and up and down. When these motions hurt, it can significantly impair your ability to speak, chew, and get through your day without the distraction of aches and pain.

How many people are impacted by TMJ/TMD?

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) estimates that more than 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ/TMD symptoms. The condition appears more common in women than men, but adults and adolescents of both genders can be impacted by the condition.
TMJ Symptoms

Although TMJ refers to a specific joint, TMJ disorder can cause many symptoms throughout the body including:

Headaches
Neck pain
Earaches
Fluid in the ears
Shoulder pain
Back pain
Toothaches

TMJ disorder can cause daily discomfort and a number of oral health problems. Grinding can wear down your natural teeth while clenching causes pain in the gums, cheeks, and other parts of the body.
Cause of TMJ/TMD Disorder

There are several possible causes for TMD. Clenching teeth or grinding teeth can trigger problems with TMJ, especially if you perform these actions in your sleep. While stress may be a trigger for these symptoms, ending the habit requires more than willpower as you cannot monitor your patterns while asleep.

Another cause of TMJ is the dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket part of the temporomandibular joint.

Injuries such as whiplash may also cause an onset of TMD.

The exact cause of TMD depends on the individual, and while it may be difficult to pinpoint the source of the problem, there are many treatments available to relieve and eliminate TMJ symptoms while promoting better oral health and comfort. Learn more about the forms of TMJ disorder treatment here.

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