TMJ refers to the jaw joint, known as the temporomandibular joint.
So, what is TMD?
TMD refers to disorders of the temporomandibular (jaw) joint, often referred to as temporomandibular dysfunction or disorders.
The jaw joint is found at the side of the face, just in front of the ear and can be felt whilst opening and closing the mouth. It is an anatomically complex joint and one of the few joints in the body that has a small disc between the bones. It is functionally related to the head and neck.
The condition is also referred to as TMJ (temporomandibular joint).
Someone with TMD might experience one or more of the following:
Although symptoms may appear suddenly, they are usually a result of stresses to the joint or muscles which have accumulated over a period of time.
Common causes and predisposing factors are:
In almost all cases, TMD can be alleviated and the problem can be managed effectively. Because it is a chronic condition, changes in lifestyle and habits are necessary to get a good, sustainable result from treatment.
Some people have to learn to live with some inconvenience (eg: a click or occasional discomfort) especially if there is joint damage. We are able to teach ways to minimise these inconveniences. In a few very rare cases, surgery is a viable option. As a rule, the sooner you can address the problem, the easier it will be to rehabilitate.
Treatment is best shared between dentists and / or dental specialist and a physiotherapist who has an in-depth understanding of the joint function.
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