TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ) is on of the most complex joints in the body. They are located on each side of the head where the mandible (lower jaw) meets the mandibular fossa of the temporal bone. Each TMJ has a disc between the head of the mandible and fossa. The joint resembles a ball and socket joint. Several muscles allow the jaw to preform many movements, including a combination of rotating and translational (gliding) action, used when chewing and speaking.
Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working together properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder called Temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Problems can include teeth grinding (bruxism), teeth clenching, trauma, arthritis, and dental mal-occlusion.
According to the ADA more than fifteen percent suffer from chronic facial pain. Some common symptoms include pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth, or even headaches and neck aches. Their are several causes to pain but some are clenching and grinding (bruxism). For more information you can visit the American Dental Association (ADA) and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR).
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