What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder is a condition that affects the joints that connect your jawbone to your skull. These joints are called temporomandibular joints (hence the name TMJ). The disorder can cause pain and discomfort in your jaw, face, and neck and can also affect your ability to eat, speak, and even breathe properly. It’s a common condition and can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, teeth grinding, and jaw injuries. If you think you might have TMJ disorder, it’s important to see your Kansas City dentist, who can diagnose and treat it.

Why TMJ Disorder Hurts Your Jaw

Pain at the TM joints is usually due to an inflammation of the ligaments that hold the two bones – temporal and mandibular bones – together and form a capsule around the joint. This Capsulitis is, in turn, due to strain in the joint from clenching or grinding very hard in deep sleep. The underlying cause of this is the disharmony of the bite – a malocclusion.

The other causes of pain in TM joints are internal derangement – a torn ligament that acts as the tether for the articular disc between the two bones. The disc is meant to act as a bearing between the articular surfaces of the bones when they function. When the disc is dislocated, at some point during the opening of the jaw, the disc will pop into place, causing the clicking noise.

When this dislocation is uncorrected, it could lead to the destruction of the joint surfaces and result in arthritis of the joint. This, too, would be a source of TMJ pain.