What Are TMJ Disorders?
TMJ disorders (TMD), also known as temporomandibular joint disorders, are a group of conditions that affect the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. These disorders can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw, face, head, and neck. They also limit jaw movement and affect the ability to chew, talk, and swallow.
Types of TMJ Disorders
There are several types of TMJ disorders, each with its own unique set of symptoms and causes. Some of the most common TMD symptoms include:
- Myofascial Pain: The most common type of TMJ disorder. Myofascial pain is characterized by pain or discomfort in the muscles that control jaw movement. Various factors, including stress, overuse of the jaw muscles, and trauma to the jaw joint, can cause myofascial pain.
- Internal Derangement: A type of TMD that occurs when the disc that cushions the jaw joint becomes displaced or dislocated, causing pain, clicking or popping sounds in the jaw, and limited jaw movement. Trauma to the jaw joint, arthritis, or a misaligned bite can cause internal derangement.
- Degenerative Joint Disease: A type of TMJ disorder that occurs when the cartilage in the jaw joint wears away over time, leading to bone-on-bone contact, pain, and limited jaw movement. Degenerative joint disease can occur from aging, trauma to the jaw joint, or other joint diseases.
- TMJ Ankylosis: A rare but serious type of TMD that occurs when the jaw joint becomes fused, preventing normal jaw movement. Trauma to the jaw joint, infection, or certain medical conditions can cause TMJ ankylosis.