“TMJ/TMD” – What Is It?
According to the lay person the TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) is a term that is often used to identify a multifaceted multi etiologic group of problems that involve both medical as well as dental conditions involving the temporomandibular joint, muscles of mastication, the teeth/occlusion as well as the central nervous system. TMJ is more appropriately called TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or Dysfunction).
• Facial pain
• Jaw joint pain
• Back, Neck, cervical pain
• Postural problems (forward head posture)
• Pain in the face
• Limited opening of the mouth (commonly known as “Locked Jaw”)
• Headaches (tension type)
• Pain in the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joints
• Pain in the occipital (back), temporal (side), frontal (front), or sub-orbital (below the eyes)
• Pain behind the eyes – dagger and ice pick feelings
• Multiple bites that feels uncomfortable or, “off,” and continually changing
• Tender sensitive teeth to cold
• Deviation of the jaw to one side
• The jaw locking open or closed
• Ringing in the ears, ear pain, and ear congestion feelings
• Sinus like symptoms
• Dizziness or vertigo
• Visual Disturbances
• Tingling in fingers and hands
• Insomnia – difficulty sleeping
Common TMJ problems that can occur with the temporomandibular joint are disc disorders or internal derangements of the disc, disc locations, tearing of the lateral and medial collateral ligaments due to traumatic injuries, inflammatory disorders as synovitis/capsulities, inflammatory arthritis, capsular fibrosis, ankyosis, subluxations, spontaneous dislocations, chronic (recurrent disc locations) contributing to clicks and audible popping sounds. Fractures and hemarthrosis within the TM Joint should also be considered. Masticatory disorders (muscle pain), chronic mandibular hypo-mobility, mandibular hyper-mobility, growth disorders of the jaw (i.e. coronoid hyperplasia), and functional abnormal jaw closure patterns also be recognized. Common misdiagnosis’ are fibromyalgia, migraineous head pain, neuralgias of the masticatory system as well as cervical/neck/ shoulder and back pain.
To read more about Initial Treatment for TMJ
Various experts have tried to identify this problem with various names such as: “TMJ”, Craniomandibular Dysfunction (CMD), Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD), Myofacial Pain Dysfunction (MPD), Cranio-facial Dysfunction (CFD), and Musculoskeletal Dysfunction. Depending on which philosophical belief and school of thought dental experts and clinicians believe that it relates to the lack of coordination between the muscles of mastication, the jaw joints, the teeth and the central nervous system. Academics may also call it Cranio-mandibular/ Neurovasomuscular/Cervical Dysfunction. Third party insurance groups may recognize it as, Musculoskeletal Dysfunction (MSD) of the head and neck resulting in Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. Still others may identify it as a cranio-facial or orofacial disorder.
Read more on The Controversy of What to Call the TMJ Problem