Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a degenerative disorder caused by a dysfunctioning of the temporomandibular joint. It can cause chronic pain in the jaw, face, head, or neck. The professionals at Dr. Christy Natsis and Associates provide TMD and orthodontic treatment in Pembroke. Contact us for more information.
The temporomandibular (TM) joints are located on either side of the head, just in front of the ears. They connect your mandible (lower jaw) to your temporal bone (skull). As the TM joint rotates, moves forward, backward, and side-to-side, it is considered one of the most complex joints in the body. This joint, in combination with other muscles and ligaments, makes it possible for you to chew, swallow, speak, and yawn. When problems arise with the tissues of the TM joint, you may have a TMD.
Signs and Symptoms of TMDs
People who suffer from TMDs experience pain or discomfort in or around the ear, jaw joint, muscles of the jaw, face, temples, and neck on one or both sides. Symptoms can be aggravated by stress and may manifest without warning. TMD symptoms may progress frequently over a period of months or years. Other symptoms associated with TMDs include clicking, popping, locking of the jawbone, limited opening or deviating jaw movement, chewing difficulties, and headaches.
Causes of TMDs
There is a combination of multiple factors that causes TMDs, such as trauma to the mandible (lower jaw), joint diseases such as arthritis or arthrosis, the loss of posterior teeth, and loss of oral vertical dimension. TMD may also be caused or made worse by activities such as jaw clenching or bruxism. Stress is another related factor.
Here are some of the facts about bruxism:
Bruxism is defined as “a grinding or clenching of the teeth associated with forceful jaw movements, resulting in rubbing, gritting together of the teeth, usually during sleep." It is an involuntary habit that imposes forceful contact between the biting surfaces of the upper and lower teeth.
Bruxism is common in everyone but in some, it is more predominant. People may brux when they are under stress, while deep in concentration or in anger. More than 80% of bruxers don't realize they are doing it and over 95% of bruxers are night-time bruxers.
Night-time bruxers' teeth can grind for up to 40 minutes of every hour of sleep.
Bruxing can exert as much as 600 lbs. of force per square inch on your teeth and restorations (10 times the force registered during normal chewing).
Possible Signs and Symptoms Specific to Bruxism
In addition to TMD signs/symptoms, others symptoms include:
Flat and worn teeth
History of broken or chipped teeth
Generally sensitive teeth
Areas of gum recession, and root exposure or wear, in the absence of other oral/dental disease
More than normal mobility (looseness) of teeth in the absence of other oral/dental disease