Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
Alternate Names : Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, TMJ, Costen's Syndrome
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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
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
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
medical procedures, such as
endotracheal intubation used to deliver general anesthesia during surgery
poor alignment of the jaw or teeth