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TMJ Disorder – Are You Suffering From This Common Affliction?

By Rick Light

TMJ is a disorder that causes millions of Americans distress. People of all ages from pre-teens to seniors are affected by TMJ disorder. TMJ Disorder relates to the muscles of the jaw and the joints that help with chewing.

The temporomandibular joints are commonly known as the TM joints. They are a complex system that connect the jawbone to the skull. They are placed in front of the ears. Because it is a complex system it is all to common for distress to happen. When the system begins to break down you will experience a clicking or popping sensation when the mouth in open or closed.

This is the most complex and consistently used joint system in the body. The TM joint is typically cycled over 2,000 each and every day. When break down occurs serious, chronic pain occurs. This pain often radiates down into the face, neck and shoulders.

When your TJM joints are experiencing problems, you may feel the following symptoms:

clicking, popping or crunching noises coupled with jaw movement

* pain when the jaw is opened fully

* limited range of motion

* grinding or clenching your teeth

* facial pain and a sense of facial muscle fatigue

* ear pain not related to ear infections

* occasional “locking” when the jaw seems to be unable to either open or to close temporarily

* ringing of the ears

* frequent headaches – Research has revealed the number one symptom of a TM Disorder as headache.

TM Disorder can originate for a variety of reasons:

* lost or crooked teeth

* overbite

* teeth not fitting together properly

* degenerative arthritis

* various head or neck injuries including whiplash

* stress causing clenched teeth (bruxism) and muscle spasms

There are many other types of pain that typically mimic a TMJ disorder. Because of this you must have a complete and careful dental and medical exam to come up with an accurate conclusion. Upon examination, if your condition point as causes other than the teeth you will probably be referred to another member of your health care team: a physician, chiropractor, physical therapist, etc.

If a malocclusion is detected, and the vast majority of TMJ disorders are the result of malocclusion, your teeth may require some restoration to improve the alignment of your “bite” and TM joints. This would be preceded by provisionally aligning your head/jaw in the correct posture by means of an orthopedic appliance.

If an orthotic is prescribed, you may be instructed to wear it during the course of your day (24/7). Additionally, treatment for immediate relief of pain and muscle spasm may be prescribed along with muscle relaxers, pain killers, heat compresses or ice packs, or micro-current electrical stimulation. Posture correction, specialized exercises to improve jaw muscle flexibility and strength and soft diet may also be prescribed.

Relief of stress and anxiety is essential. Relaxation techniques, biofeedback or counseling may be necessary. In rare instances surgery may be called for.

Looking to find more information about TMJ Disorder, then visit your trusted Tucson dentist Dr. Light to find the best advice on effective treatment for TMJ disorders.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Light, Rick "TMJ Disorder – Are You Suffering From This Common Affliction?." TMJ Disorder – Are You Suffering From This Common Affliction?. 21 Jun. 2010. 25 Jul 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Light, R (2010, June 21). TMJ Disorder – Are You Suffering From This Common Affliction?. Retrieved July 25, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Light, Rick "TMJ Disorder – Are You Suffering From This Common Affliction?"

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