Temporomandibular Disorder: Do You Have TMJ?
In actuality, using the phrase, “I have TMJ” is inaccurate. TMJ is neither a disease nor syndrome. It is the joint in front of your ear that allows the jaw to move.
TMJ = Temporomandibular Joint
TMD = Temporomandibular Dysfunction or Disorder
In order to open and close your mouth to eat or speak, your TM joints must be functioning properly. We all have two TM joints, one on the right and one on the left. These joints, which are moved by muscles and stabilized by ligaments, are therefore part of an orthopedic system, which can be compromised by overuse, disease, or trauma. Once present, a TMD problem is typically associated with pain and/or limitation of jaw function.
Since the face and mouth are so highly personal, a TMD problem can lead to significant levels of concern and suffering.
When the TM complex is compromised, there is the potential for a wide variety of symptoms. Because a Temporomandibular Disorder can give rise to so many variable symptoms, making a proper diagnosis is rather difficult.
The symptoms classically associated with Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD) include:
- Limitation of jaw range of motion
- Painful jaw range of motion
- TM joint clicking
- TM joint locking
- A sense of a bite discrepancy
- Tension in the face
- Daily headaches in the temples
- Morning headaches on arising
- Sore jaw muscles
- Jaw pain while eating
- Neck Tension
In addition, ear symptoms are rather common when Temporomandibular Disorder is present. Ear symptoms can include pain, a sensation of stuffiness or fullness, and a variety of odd sounds such as ringing, humming, buzzing, and whistling. Other less frequent symptoms include:
- Loss of balance and a sense of unsteadiness
- Tingling sensations in the face and jaw