While many people associate TMJ with the pain associated with TMJ disorders, it is actually a term used in general dentistry to define the set of joints and muscles in your jaw, known as temporomandibular joints (or “TMJ”). These joints are on either side of your head and ultimately enable your jaw to move. Whether this is for chewing, speaking, or even moving your jaw forwards and backwards, healthy TMJ are essential to maintaining good oral health.
How The Joints Work
Like any joints in your body, your temporomandibular joints function with a ball and socket. However, a unique advantage to your TMJ is that it contains a disc between each ball and its socket. This disc not only cushions your jaw and prevents damage from occurring, but it allows your jaw to move the way it does, much like the discs in your spine.
Anytime something goes wrong between the ball, socket, disc, or any of the ligaments or muscles associated with TMJ, the result is pain. The causes of these disorders could range from arthritis to nightly grinding, and understanding what is going on beneath the surface is a fundamental first step in learning how to treat your TMJ pain. Other examples of conditions that could cause a TMJ disorder are:
- Your natural jaw alignment
- Traumatic injury to the jaw
- Dislocating the jaw
Your temporomandibular joints are complex. As a result, many things can go wrong to cause you pain. If you feel like you have a disorder associated with TMJ, then contact our Concord dentists today for your consultation.