Joints are body parts that are a junction of two or more bones. Joints allow free movement of the bones. More the joints’ angle of free movement, the risk of pain increases, and the bones’ strength can decrease considerably. The different joints are a hinge joint, saddle joint, ball and socket joint, condyloid joint, and pivot and gliding joint.

Temporomandibular Joints

The temporal bones of your skull are joined to your jaws by a hinge joint, known as temporomandibular joints. The temporal ones are placed in front of both ears. The temporal bones help in the free movement of your jaws up and down. Without the temporal joints, the side movement of your jaws, yawning, or even chewing or talking would not have been possible.

The temporomandibular Joints are formed by the articulation of the temporal bones of the skull and mandible. Located at the front of the ear, on the lateral part of the face, the temporomandibular Joints are one of the most important joints of the human body, facilitating the jaws’ movement.

The jaw bone’s articular surfaces never come in contact with each other and are separated by an articular disc. The jaw movement’s unique mechanism is enabled by the presence of an articular disc that splits the joints into two synovial joint cavities, which are lined by a synovial membrane. Fibrocartilage covers the articular surface of the bones.

What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

The temporomandibular Joints and the muscles control the movement of jaws. Around twelve percent of Americans experience issues with the Temporomandibular Joints, and women are more affected than men. The condition that affects the normal functionality of the temporomandibular Joints is known as a temporomandibular joint disorder.

Temporomandibular Joint disorder is a broad category and is primarily characterized by the jaws’ pain and compromised movement. The different types of Temporomandibular Joint disorder include:

  • Myofascial pain includes pain and discomfort in the muscles that control the jaw movement.
  • Internal displacement of the joints involves a dislocated jaw, displaced disc, on an injury to the condyle.
  • A group of degenerative or inflammatory joint disorders or arthritis can also lead to temporomandibular joint disorder.

Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or sleep disturbance might also c-exist with the temporomandibular joint disorder and increase the discomfort.

What are the Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

Numerous possible causes might lead to TMJ. The known ones include:

  • Grinding or clenching of the teeth puts immense pressure on the jawbones.
  • Movement of the tender cushion or disc between the ball and socket joint.
  • Stress might cause you to tighten the facial jaw boles and muscles.
  • Arthritis.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Prolonged infection of the teeth and jaws.
  • Dental surgery.
  • Orthodontic braces.
  • Excessive chewing of gums.
  • Trauma to the temporomandibular joints.
  • Rheumatic diseases.
  • Stress and anxiety.

The Symptoms

For most people, the symptoms of TMJ might appear without apparent reasons. The symptoms include:

  • Stiffness of the jaw muscles.
  • Locked jaw or limited movement of the jaws.
  • Change in the way of fitting of the upper and lower jaw.
  • Radiating pain in the face, jaw, neck, or oral cavity.
  • Painful clicking of the jaws while open or closing the mouth.
  • Aching pain in eighter of the ears or around the ears.
  • Difficulties in chewing or talking.
  • Pain or tenderness in the jaws.
  • Pain at the base of the tongue.
  • Pain in the shoulders.
  • Dizziness or vertigo.
  • Headaches or even migraines.

Diagnosis

The symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder are prominent, and experienced doctors can diagnose TMJ quickly. Observing your jaws’ range and motion and pressing on areas around the affected part can help diagnose TMJ.

Dental x-rays can provide an idea of the state of the temporomandibular joints. CT scan and MRI scans provide a detailed image of the state of the jaws and bones.

Treatment

Change in lifestyle and self-care can be the best treatment of TMJ often. Consumption of well-cooked soft food and avoiding chewing gums can help to reduce stress on the gums. Over-the-counter medicines can subside the inflammation and reduce the pain.

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