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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
      Category : Health Centers > Bones, Joints, and Muscles

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Alternate Names : Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, TMJ, Costen's Syndrome

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Temporomandibular joint disorder, which is also known as TMJ, is a painful condition that affects the joint connecting the jawbone to the skull. TMJ may also involve the surrounding muscles and soft tissues.

What is going on in the body?

Temporomandibular joint disorders are poorly understood. They are thought to involve a disturbance of the joint that connects the back of the jaw to the skull. This joint is located just in front of the ear and can be felt when the jaw opens and closes.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

The exact causes of temporomandibular joint disorders are still a subject of debate. Ninety percent of the people with TMJ are women in their childbearing years. Many times, TMJ is linked to inappropriate activities, such as:

  • activities that cause the head to be held in an abnormal position, such as cradling a telephone on the shoulder
  • clenching or grinding of the teeth
  • oral habits, such as yawning with the mouth wide open or eating chewy foods often
  • overuse of, or trauma to, the muscles used in chewing
  • poor posture, such as sitting improperly at a desk or computer station
  • Other causes of TMJ are as follows:

  • abnormal sensitivity to pain in the area of the joint or muscles used for chewing
  • abnormal structure of the joint, present at birth
  • dental procedures, such as root canals and tooth extractions
  • diseases affecting the muscles, such as fibromyalgia
  • injury, such as a motor vehicle accident or sports injury
  • joint diseases, such as osteoarthritis
  • medical procedures, such as endotracheal intubation used to deliver general anesthesia during surgery
  • poor alignment of the jaw or teeth
  • stress

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    Temporomandibular Joint Disorders: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 08/20/01



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